EATE Estonian Association of Teachers of English
The The EATE EATE Journal Journal Issue Issue No. No. 54 53 October August 2018 2018 GOOD CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WHY IT MATTERS Paul Braddock
HOW CAN WE USE CREATIVE AND PERFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES IN THE CLASSROOM? Nikky Smedley
PICTURE BOOKS – THE PATH TO AUTHENTIC LANGUAGE Ingebjørg Mellegård
STUDENT-CENTRED LEARNING AND MOTIVATION: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM STUDENT VIEWS ON IT? Kristina Mullamaa 12 TWO-WAY JOB SHADOWING Reet Soosaar 19 WORDS, WORDS, WORDS: SOME CURRENT EXPRESSIONS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS Julia Hirsch 22 DEEPLY STEEPED IN HISTORY, RISING TO THE SKIES, PLUNGING INTO WATERS Erika Jeret 24 TEACHING OF ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TARTU IN THE TSARIST PERIOD Ilmar Anvelt 28
American teachers in Estonia MYSELF AS AN ELF IN ESTONIA AND ELSEWHERE Allison Pickering 32 English Language Fellow Andre’ L. Boyer
Meet our English Teaching Assistants
Experienced Educator OUR NATIONAL EXAMINER An interview with Kristel Kriisa 39
Reading Recommendations THE JOYS AND THREATS OF STUDYING ABROAD Ilmar Anvelt 41 A BOOK OF FICTION TO READ Erika Puusemp 43
Photos by Reet Noorlaid
EATE SUMMER SEMINAR, PÄRNU, 22-23 AUGUST 2018
Seminar materials arriving in Pärnu
American presenters and Tiiu Vitsut (second left) from the US Embassy
Chairpersons of two associations – Ene Peterson (EAFLT) and Erika Puusemp (EATE)
Irina Matviitšuk preparing to receive seminar participants
Steve Lever, one of our most consistent presenters
Young teachers from Rocca al Mare school
Estonian Association of Teachers of English www.eate.ee Chair Erika Puusemp email@example.com
Editor of OPEN! Ilmar Anvelt firstname.lastname@example.org
Current account EE331010152001597007 in SEB
GOOD CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND WHY IT MATTERS Paul Braddock
Good teachers or good teaching? What is a good teacher? It is a question that I have asked audiences to discuss in talks, workshops and seminars at different conferences and events around the world. It is a straightforward question which doesn’t take a lot of effort to answer, especially when the audience is a group of teachers. In general, the answers are usually fairly similar. Good knowledge of the subject, friendliness, empathy towards learners, high expectations of their learners, a sense of humour, someone who makes the subject interesting… these are all common and familiar responses that I’m sure we would all agree with. I ask the question ‘What is a good teacher?’ because it highlights a quote attributed to a 2007 report written by the McKinsey group, which stated that “The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” It is a quote commonly used by governments and education experts all over the world when talking or writing about education reforms and went largely unchallenged until 2013, when Chris Husbands wrote an article for the Institute of Education London blog, called “Great teachers or great teaching? Why McKinsey got it wrong”. In his article, Husbands says: We can all teach well and we can all teach badly. Even good teachers teach some lessons and some groups less well; even the struggling teacher can teach a successful lesson on occasion. More generally, we can all teach better: teaching changes and develops. Skills improve. Ideas change. Practice alters. It’s teaching, not teachers. Consequently, the second question I ask in workshops or talks is “What is good teaching?” This is where the discussions become more interesting and the answers become more varied. Good teachers are assumed to have certain qualities, and producing a simple list of those qualities is a fairly basic and simple task. The qualities of a good teacher – empathy, humour, making the subject interesting or fun, etc. – are largely constant and static skills; the ability to build a good rapport, for example, is a skill which can be maintained regardless of changes to an education system or syllabus. What constitutes good teaching, however, needs a deeper investigation into how those qualities are put into practice on a day-to-day basis in the classroom and, most importantly, requires acceptance of the fact that good teaching is something which, as Husbands says in his article, changes over time, in response to several factors. These changes are numerous, but include changes to the English language, changes to the skills our learners will need when they leave school, changes to the identities of our learners, changes to how they communicate, and changes to the tools available to teachers and students to help learning become more effective and meaningful. How we respond to those changes and influences, and how we are able to find ways to continually develop our skills is the key to ensuring our learners have the best opportunities to succeed.
‘Good’ development As we have seen in the previous section of this article, good teaching is something which shifts and evolves. While experience is important, many of the strategies and techniques that we used effectively 15 or 20 years ago may not be so effective now. For example, how do we incorporate new learning technologies into our classrooms? How do we ensure that the 21st century skills that we hear about all the time are integrated into our teaching? How do we respond to the fact that most students can find answers to almost any question on a mobile device, and how do we ensure the answers they find are factual, and not ‘fake’? These are just a few of the elements that we need to be aware of and take into consideration, but how do we do that? Teachers are busy people! Much of the training and development we receive is at conferences or in-house workshops. We go to a talk, or series of talks to get inspiration and practical ideas that we can use. Sometimes we are encouraged to discuss our experiences with peers. Sometimes, we just go to get a break and the free coffee and sandwiches! Regardless of the reason, these one-off experiences are almost always useful and there is value in attending – some idea or something that makes us think and question how we teach. But what happens when that experience has worn off? How to keep that moment of enthusiasm from the training room going to ensure we are developing and reflecting on our practice day to day? In the same way as we have looked briefly at ‘good’ teachers and ‘good’ teaching, how can we ensure that our professional development is also ‘good’? Michael Connolly from the British Council wrote an article recently where he outlined research commissioned from Professor Simon Borg about what constitutes good Continuing Professional Development (CPD). If you read the article, you will have seen the following, that ‘good’ CPD can be achieved when, among other things: 1. it is seen by teachers to be relevant to their needs and those of their students 2. teachers are centrally involved in decisions about the content and process of CPD 3. collaboration and the sharing of expertise among teachers is fostered 4. CPD is situated in schools and classrooms I’m sure most of us would agree with the above. There is little or no advantage to taking part in a teacher development activity that has no relevance, or when you are given no control over the ‘what’ you develop or ‘how’. Sharing and collaboration with colleagues, and making sure development happens in the school and classroom can help with issues around the lack of time and also moves away from the idea that there is always the need for an external ‘expert’, sometimes with little knowledge of the context, to guide training. In short, focusing on real needs or interests, based in our own classrooms, and working with people in similar situations to share ideas and local expertise is proven to be a very effective, time-efficient way of ensuring we respond to changes and continue to develop professionally. The People 2 People Teaching for Success project in the Baltics How can we make that work in practice? The British Council is currently involved in a teacher development project across all three Baltics countries, which began integrating our approach to teacher development, Teaching for Success, last year. Built on extensive research into effective Continuing Professional Development, the approach incorporates twelve professional practices into a CPD framework. These professional practices focus on what we as teachers do, both in the classroom and out of it, to ensure we are teaching effectively. For each professional practice, there are a number of teacher development modules, which are either for self-access use or part of a larger, moderated course, either for online or 2
face-to-face use. While there is input given, either through video, audio or text, the core purpose of the modules is largely to provide the stimulus for teachers to develop more fully in their own contexts in an area of need or interest. Another key aspect of the approach is ensuring that teachers develop their teaching in the areas where they need it. Our self-assessment tool requires teachers to answer several questions related to the professional practices in order to determine where support is required. Last year, over 500 teachers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania completed their self-assessment, which, combined with classroom observation, provided us with a clear overall picture of which aspects of teaching needed more support. As with the other two countries, the majority of Estonian teachers who completed the self-assessment survey identified the professional practice “Using inclusive practices”, which includes Special Educational Needs as an area for development. “Assessing learning” and “Promoting 21st century skills” were also highlighted as areas for development. Based on these identified needs, and after a series of face-to-face summer school workshops in August 2017, we created a tailored online programme of development by combining 11 modules related to inclusive practices, assessing learning and 21st century skills, which took place between October and December 2017 with 370 teachers, managed by three British Council e-moderators. Within the online programme, there were synchronous (real-time) webinars, weekly discussion forums, and classroom-based activities and tasks for each participant to complete. Subsequent online discussions were designed to help participants reflect on their learning and look for ways to embed that into their teaching. There were also two required assignments which, again, were based around teachers selecting an aspect of their learning and using it with a class, then reflecting on the experience. The lesson plan and reflection were submitted as an assessed task. As a final part of the formal programme, in early March of this year, the online tutors hosted a winter school, where participants from the online programme and summer school gathered to discuss their learning, share knowledge and produce action plans for future development to ensure that this continued. Although the guidance and input were important elements, the intended long-term benefits are always to try and ensure that the ‘Continuing’ part of ‘Continuing Professional Development’ is nurtured and embraced. Strategies for taking responsibility for professional development are embedded in the programme, so that teachers can apply those in the long-term, reflecting on their practice, making small day-to-day adjustments to their teaching practice and collaborating with colleagues. Next steps Following another round of face-to-face summer school workshops in the Baltics during August 2018, we are now in the process of creating a longer 9-month online teacher development programme, run with the support of and in collaboration with teacher associations, universities and governments across each country. As with last year, the programme will consist of modules and input based on needs identified by teachers and will run over three semesters – Autumn/Winter, Spring and Summer. In a change from last year, participants will be able to choose from six different courses, with the idea that they complete three during the year. However, as with last year, face-to-face workshops will take place in February or March next year to provide opportunities to engage with other participants and the course tutors, in order to reflect, share and create action plans for their development.
You can see a summary of each of the courses below: Engaging with Learning Technologies 1 Module 1
Understanding learning technologies – Introduction to learning technologies
Engaging with learning technologies – Cyber wellbeing
Engaging with learning technologies – Searching and copyright
Engaging with learning technologies – Digital literacies
Engaging with learning technologies – School links projects
Engaging with learning technologies – Social networking for educational use
Engaging with Learning Technologies 2 Module 1
Engaging with learning technologies – Using digital images in education
Engaging with learning technologies – Practising listening and speaking with online audio
Engaging with learning technologies – Developing reading skills with digital tools
Engaging with learning technologies – Evaluating and integrating websites
Engaging with learning technologies – Using Office software for pair and group work
Engaging with learning technologies – Mobile learning
Engaging with Special Educational Needs 1 Module 1
Understanding Special Educational Needs
Engaging with SEN – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Engaging with SEN – Dyslexia
Engaging with SEN – Gifted and talented learners
Engaging with SEN – Multicultural influences
Engaging with SEN – Inclusive assessment approaches
Engaging with Special Educational Needs 2 Module 1
Understanding Special Educational Needs
Engaging with SEN – Autism spectrum disorder
Engaging with SEN – Dyspraxia
Engaging with SEN – Social, emotional and behavioural difficulties
Engaging with SEN – Speech and language
Engaging with SEN – Visual, hearing and physical impairment
Engaging with CLIL Module 1
Engaging with CLIL – Guiding input
Engaging with CLIL – Supporting output and interaction
Engaging with CLIL – Language demands and thinking skills
Engaging with CLIL – Task design and implementation
Engaging with CLIL – Teaching vocabulary and adapting materials
Engaging with CLIL – Assessment for CLIL
Supporting learning and assessment Module 1
Understanding learners – Understanding learning strategies
Planning lessons and courses – Understanding differentiation
Planning lessons and courses – Engaging with motivational activities
Planning lessons and courses – Engaging with thinking skills in the classroom
Assessing learning – Engaging with assessment for learning
Assessing learning – Understanding teaching for tests
The first courses began on 1 October 2018, with over 400 participants enrolled. It is not now possible to enrol for the October – December online courses, but there are still opportunities to join the programme from January. For further information, please refer to the British Council Estonia website at www.britishcouncil.org/ estonia Paul Braddock is project consultant, responsible for the implementation of Teaching for Success into the British Council’s People 2 People project in the Baltics. He is also the manager of the British Council’s TeachingEnglish website. Now based in Barcelona, he has previously worked as a teacher and teacher trainer in the UK, Japan, Poland, Hungary and Portugal.
HOW CAN WE USE CREATIVE AND PERFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES IN THE CLASSROOM? Nikky Smedley
Performer and storyteller
I started my career as a performer – dancing, singing and acting, although alongside this, there was always teaching, primarily in vocational schools and colleges. Later on, when I moved into children’s television, being cast as ‘LaaLaa’ in the globally successful show for pre-schoolers, ‘Teletubbies’, I became fascinated by how to successfully communicate with the very young. Eventually I found the time I spent in the company of children for research purposes was much more interesting to me than the time I spent making television. So, I did some re-training and started working as a creative educational practitioner in primary, secondary, early years and special needs settings. It was a surprise to me to find how many of the skills I had picked up during my performing years were useful to me in education, and when I was asked by Jessica Kingsley Publishers to produce a book for them, this seemed like an interesting choice of subject – one I had not seen explicitly written about before. There may not seem to be a particularly obvious correlation between the working life of a professional performer and that of an EYFS (Early Years /Foundation Stage as we designate in the UK) practitioner, but I have found many. Our Statutory Framework lays down three different ways how children learn: playing and exploring; active learning; and creating and thinking critically – not just characteristics of effective teaching and learning, but essentials in the toolkit of any performer! My intention was not just to supply a selection of activities for children to participate in, but to help develop this whole skill set in teachers, to focus on the importance of what the practitioner brings to the classroom, and to the relationships with the children. I wanted to increase ability and confidence in the skills normally associated with performers – storytelling, puppetry, music, movement and more that benefit practitioners directly as well as the children they teach. In the world of performance, the audience is the most important thing, but unless the actors know how to act, the dancers know how to dance, the musicians can play, the singers can sing, then the audience can have a pretty grim time. It’s the same in the classroom. Naturally the children’s needs are paramount, but the more skills the practitioner has to draw on, the happier and more confident they will feel in their ability to deliver, the more the children will get out of the experience. We all know that a happy child is a learning child. We know that children learn much less well from someone that they don’t like – or even worse, who they feel doesn’t like them – therefore, it makes sense to make happy practitioners too. It’s difficult to be the grown-up in the room sometimes, there can be huge pressure to be able to deal with absolutely everything, to know everything, to be able to maintain control whilst giving space for personal expression, to be perfect at our job. But that’s impossible. We are all fallible, and it’s important that we make peace with that. Whilst we are striving daily to give of our best, it’s also okay not to have the answer sometimes, we are allowed to say, “I don’t know.” To be able to model this for our children is crucial. As they grow and develop through their school careers, they are going to be subjected to terrific pressures themselves. They need to learn that on the occasions when they don’t know a thing, or they 6
are stuck in some way, they don’t need to panic. They too can just say, “I don’t know,” and that’s alright. Once they have seen the adults they admire behave in this way without drama or self-abasement, then they are more likely to be able to do the same themselves. After all, the admittance of ignorance is also the starting point for exploratory learning, “Let’s find out together!” The most successful teachers I have worked with manage to engender in their classes a sense of team. Their children think of themselves as part of a cohesive group to which they, their peers and the associated adults belong. They hold an idea of the collective personality of the group and feel a responsibility to the overall success of that group. In order to achieve this, there must be an acknowledgement that the group needs each and every individual, that everyone has a part to play, and all are reliant on all the other members of the group to pull their weight. As the teacher, to be able to ask for assistance on occasion gives a feeling of usefulness and belonging to the children and helps to cement that commitment to the group. Again, there are parallels to be drawn here with what is necessary to create a successful performance. Cast and crew are brought together for a production and are expected to form a cohesive company, committing to each other and to the common goal as fully as possible. So, we already have some clear ways in which the lives of an EYFS practitioner and that of a creative performer are similar, and we have several transferable lessons. Here are a few more techniques I have borrowed from the theatre and applied to the classroom: • Having clear roles – Children love to be given responsibility, so if there are regular little tasks that need taking care of, put someone in charge of each one, perhaps for a week at a time. • Warm-up and trust exercises – A short physical warm-up to get the day started can work well, and if it does so for you, then try adding in movements where the children have to rely on each other (sitting leaning back to back for example) to help with co-operation skills. • Rehearsals – We mostly don’t get it right first time around. Let everyone know that that’s okay, and that practising can be as worthwhile as achieving the goal. • We all contribute – Create an atmosphere in which everyone feels safe enough to make a contribution. Performers lay themselves on the line all the time, it’s very exposing. We should remember that small children can feel that way too. • Applaud – Give praise sincerely, specifically and often. Encouragement is one of the top factors for building good learners. Help your children to recognise and acknowledge achievement in one another and use praise to build that group feeling. Most of all make it be fun! Your children should want to be part of the gang, to be proud to be a member of the group, of your class. And whilst being an integral part of the whole, let them know that they also have room for their own personalities. Yes, you want them to contribute, they may at times have to comply, but they don’t have to conform or compromise their personalities in order to be accepted. This article contains material from Create, Perform, Teach! – An Early Years Practitioner’s Guide to Developing Your Creativity and Performance Skills by Nikky Smedley. Available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Amazon. Nikky has a weekly blog at HowtoSpeakChild.com Her TED talk is Play. Laugh. Shut Up and you can find it on YouTube.
PICTURE BOOKS – THE PATH TO AUTHENTIC LANGUAGE Ingebjørg Mellegård
Østfold University College, Norway
Children love stories; children treasure being read aloud to; children are attracted to pictures; children want to create and retell stories; children listen to the rhythm of the language; children experiment with words and phrases. Picture books expose children to all these crucial aspects of language learning. Picture books are the most valuable resource the language teacher can use when teaching foreign languages to beginners. The qualities of picture books The uniqueness of picture books is that they communicate with the reader at two different levels: the visual and the verbal. The reader derives meaning through the interaction between words and pictures; the words narrate and the pictures describe (Nikolajeva & Scott, 2006). Sometimes the words and the pictures tell the same story; they support and complement each other. In other cases, words and pictures communicate two different stories; they have a common framework but express different perspectives of the plot. Furthermore, the balance between words and pictures may vary significantly. Some books contain few or no words at all and have a predominance of pictures; others are more balanced between pictures and words whereas at the other end of the scale, there are picture books with considerably more text than pictures. Picture books, by their very nature, possess qualities which support the principles for teaching young language learners, namely, the interdependence between the visual and verbal representation form the basis for helping children develop their language learning strategies. Additionally, pictures assign meaning to unfamiliar words, and children experience that it is not necessary to know the meaning of every word to grasp the story. Picture books provide children with whole stories using simple and concise language, which is manageable for beginners (Birketveit & Williams, 2013). Meaning is created from the context of words and phrases; consequently, picture books are indeed a valuable tool for offering children authentic language input, which continuously expands and challenges the child’s existing vocabulary (Munden & Myhre, 2015). Picture books invite the reader to add more to the story; readers of picture books are likely to be considered as “co-authors”. The visual expression generates motivation for creativity and experimenting with language. In this way, children arrive at their personal understanding of the content and, hence, contribute to the development of a wide variation of the original story. In this way, picture books are naturally self-directed when it comes to differential education; children can contribute at their own language level. Children appreciate listening to the same story repeatedly; this represents a true potential for using picture books in language learning. When reading, language structures will be repeated and gradually make the child move from being a recipient of language to becoming a producer of language. In the following, I will illustrate how picture books can be used as a tool for some aspects of language learning. Picture books and covert grammar Communication is the overall aim of learning a foreign language. Grammar has to do with both form and meaning of the language. In my opinion, grammar can be defined as follows: the way in which 8
you can put words together to form utterances which result in real communication. In short, grammar has to do with knowledge about language. It is indisputable that insight into grammar helps the learner produce language which is communicative. When do we start teaching grammar? Grammar cannot be considered a separate discipline; on the contrary, it is an ever-present aspect in all language use, from the simple phrases used with the youngest learners to the more complex language structures with the advanced learners. David Crystal, one of the world’s most eminent English-language linguists, suggests changing the word grammar, used in a teaching context, to understanding language. The question is not when to start exploring language more explicitly, but rather how do we integrate grammar in a natural way with young language learners? This has primarily to do with the teachers’ language awareness and how they introduce knowledge about language to their students. In this respect picture books can become a tool for the teacher to integrate understanding of language with the youngest learners, and hence, pave the way to authentic language.
Crocodiles don’t brush their teeth. But I do. Elephants don’t blow their noses. But I do. Lions don’t brush their hair. But I do. Pigs don’t wash their faces. But I do. Owls don’t go to bed at night. But we do. Do you? In the picture book Crocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth by Colin Fancy (2005), the sentence structure of the title is repeated throughout the book connected to different animals. The pictures in the book are colourful and support the text in an appealing and illustrative way, and the language structures used are simple and repetitive. The vocabulary reflects words and phrases related to everyday situations. In this picture book, children face the to do construction in a simple and clear-cut way. However, the teacher has to be fully conscious about this and use this potential to provide the young language learners with the necessary input and, hence, pave the way for more explicit teaching of this structure at a later stage. We know that many learners struggle with mastering the to do construction; by introducing it to the beginners through a picture book in a natural but masked way, this book can serve as a frame of reference later on. The students can take part in the reading of the book; either they can answer individually to the questions saying, “I do” or together “we do”. The teacher and students can use the sentences in the book to form new sentences together and in this way, repeat the language structure and develop their vocabulary. In other words, the teacher’s knowledge about language is the decisive factor; the students may experience this language practice as playing creatively with language related to a picture book. This will make learning more toy-like than book-like. However, this book could undoubtedly be called “My first grammar book”. Crocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth is an excellent scaffolding resource that the teacher can employ to expand this language structure further: “she does” or “he does” in the same pattern as described above. Moreover, here we also find the possibility for both asking questions and forming the negative in English. For the young language learners at beginner’s level, it is all about creating situations where the students can experience a wide variation of language input. Within language learning theory, the contextualizing of grammar is considered critically important; this means that the language structures must be recognizable to the learner and useful in communication (Hedge, 2000). The teacher needs to be fully aware of how he/she approaches the practice of language structures. 9
Picture books and vocabulary Words form the basis for communication. But, we do not communicate using single words; we put words together in meaningful units, information units, short or long. The concept vocabulary involves a lot more than just learning single words; it has to do with making words become useful in communication. We are talking about collocations, combinations of words, which are often referred to as chunks of words. Learning words in isolation seems to have limited value; learners need to experience the context of words to really understand the meaning and the usage of the word and be able to retrieve it later. Within language learning theory, there is a strong focus on the understanding of collocations; some people claim that “collocation is the key to fluency” (Hill, 1999). Language learning aims at reaching a satisfactorily level of communicative competence. This implies gaining good insight into and understanding of collocations, chunks of words, as the building blocks of communication; “No word is a hermit, all words are known by the company they keep” (Munden, 2014). In other words, to really know a word means to know its environment as well. When listening attentively to native speakers, it is striking how language operates in chunks; the more such combinations we recognize and have knowledge of, the better our fluency in communication. This is about possessing a repertoire of readymade language (Hill, 1999). In the initial stage of learning a foreign language, we naturally begin with individual words, but very soon we need to move on to putting words together, enabling the learners to start using words functionally in communication. Once more, it is the teacher’s language awareness which is pivotal for how the students experience the usefulness of the words. This is about making a move from a prime focus on teaching single words to combinations of words. And again, picture books can be the key to experiencing words in context and provide the young learners with the necessary vocabulary to become language producers. Hooray for fish! by Lucy Cousins (2006) is a picture book which has a sharp focus on collocations, and it is well suited to beginner level students. The book has a big format and funny, colourful and imaginative pictures of many different fish. The language used in the book describes the fish typically in chunks, such as:
Hello red, blue and yellow fish. Hello, spotty fish, stripy fish, happy fish, grumpy fish, hairy fish, scary fish and so on, and finally But where’s the one I love the best, even more than all the rest? Hello, Mum. Hello, little fish. Kiss, kiss, kiss, Hooray for fish!
This picture book demonstrates clearly how meaning changes when putting different words together; it motivates the language learners to play with word combinations, collocations. This book allows the students to describe the pictures, and by doing so, the children soon realize they need to use more than single words; they need the descriptive words, the adjectives. A follow-up activity could be to ask the students to draw or paint their own individual fish giving it a unique look. Next, one could easily organise speed talking where the students form an inner and an outer circle, facing each other, and then describe each other’s fish in pairs. Then the outer circle takes one step to the right and everybody faces a new talking partner, and the description is repeated, and so on. During this activity, the students could swap fish making it more challenging and fun. This book and the mentioned activities will provide the young language learners with the experience of putting words together to create meaning; they are on their way to understanding the importance of words in context. Hooray for fish! could be given the subtitle My first book of collocations.
Picture books as text models There is a close correlation between the language learner as a receiver of language and a producer of language. Substantial input of language is crucial to the quality of language output (Hedge, 2000); others wisely say that children need a language bath to produce language (Munden & Myhre, 2015). It is vital to provide the learners with text models to encourage them to become good storytellers. Stories play an important part in communication, both oral and written. In this connection, it is tempting to draw a direct comparison to art students; they go to galleries and study the former masters; they copy their works to practise their craft enabling them to develop their own expression and personal style later. There is every reason to believe that the same modelling behaviour applies to the art of storytelling. Picture books can serve as excellent models for that. In the picture book Dear Zoo, a classic written by Rod Campbell (2007), the narrator expresses a strong wish for a pet and writes a letter to the Zoo. The Zoo responds by sending the I character different animals, but they are “too small, too tall, too grumpy, too scary, too jumpy” etc. until they, finally, find the perfect pet: “So, they thought very hard, and sent me a … puppy. He was perfect! I kept him.” The book uses simple sentence structures which elegantly build up an exciting story; the fact that the book comes with flaps to lift contributes to generate curiosity. This picture book can function effectively as a good text model for young language learners; the story can be expanded to include more animals or related situations. Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins (1986) is a truly unique picture book. It contains only one sentence, 32 words altogether, which tells the story of Rosie the hen’s exciting walk: Rosie the hen went for a walk across the yard around the pond over the haystack past the mill through the fence under the beehives and got back in time for dinner. This book is special because it tells the reader two parallel stories simultaneously; as the textual story of Rosie’s walk proceeds, the reader, by looking at the pictures, can follow the fox and all his misfortunes along the route trying to catch Rosie. While the text gives the listeners Rosie’s story, they create the fox’s story without really noticing doing so. Picture books of this kind provide the reader or listener with the necessary vocabulary and language structures to produce his or her personal story. In other words, this picture book is not only a model but also a tool for creating a story. To sum up, in picture books children meet authentic language. There is a huge number of picture books to choose from; it is indeed time-consuming to find the ones which are well suited for language learning, but they are well worth searching for. It is essential both for the individual teacher and for the schools to build up a collection of books which stimulate language learning in different ways. Without doubt, picture books can serve as a catalyst for children’s language learning, but it all depends on the teacher’s approach to teaching a foreign language. PICTURE BOOKS Campbell, R. 2007. Dear Zoo. London: Macmillan. Cousins, L. 2006. Hooray for Fish! London: Walker Books. Fancy, C. 2005. Crocodiles don’t brush their teeth. London: Scholastic. Hutchins, P. 1986. Rosie’s Walk. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.
REFERENCES Birketveit, A., & Williams, G. 2013. Literature for the English classroom. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. Hedge, T. 2000. Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. Oxford: OUP. Hill, J. 1999. Collocational competence. English Teaching Professional, 11, 3–6. Munden, J. 2014. Engelsk på Mellomtrinnet. Oslo: Gyldendal akademisk. Munden, J., & Myhre, A. 2015. Twinkle Twinkle. In. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk. Nikolajeva, M., & Scott, C. 2006. How Picturebooks Work. London: Routledge. Ingebjørg Mellegård is an associate professor in English linguistics and didactics. She works at Østfold University College in Norway; she has been a regular guest lecturer at the University of Tartu over the past years. Ingebjørg has many years of experience as an English teacher and in-service teacher trainer. Her main interests centre on professional development of English teachers, curriculum theory and language pedagogy.
STUDENT-CENTRED LEARNING AND MOTIVATION: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM STUDENT VIEWS ON IT? Kristina Mullamaa
College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, University of Tartu
INTRODUCTION The report focuses on the results of our study on student-centred learning. We discuss the preferred learning model for the students (student-/teacher-centred). We also try to identify what motivates students in the learning process and in which areas of learning and curriculum planning students would rather be autonomous and where they expect teacher support. What are the capacities youngsters see as essential in a modern teacher? As a theoretical background, we resort to theories of motivation and research results on student-centred learning. Areas we focus on include: motivation, educational strategies to increase motivation, student-teacher roles, student autonomy (cf. Reeve 2009, Forgas 2005, Wegner and Gilbert 2000). In the analysis of student-teacher cooperation we analyse the potential of educators to create a positive supportive climate for learning (affect and motivation, student emotions and teachers’ roles – cf. Carnell and Lodge 2002, Brophy 2004 et al.). METHODOLOGY The research question was: How do students evaluate what is important for their learning and motivation? To find out, I conducted an on-line study with the students learning in my groups (altogether 36 respondents). The broader methodological framework is ethnographic research (cf. Gilbert 2008). The study was carried out in the form of web-discussions, where students entered their opinions on the topic using our official university e-learning platform. Their input was analysed based on thematic patterning and quantified based on results.
THEORY REVIEW Motivation Currently, motivation and individualisation related aspects are of increasing importance in the learning and teaching process. We suggest that these areas may be seen as some of the stepping stones in developing the modern, facilitating and supporting learning environment. Below, let us briefly analyse the area of motivation with respect to its theoretical implications and possibilities of applying it in practice. For learning to happen, there has to be motivation on both the student’s and the teacher’s side. At the same time, Reeve (2009:10) states: “Motivation is private, unobservable, and seemingly mysterious experience. You cannot see another person’s motivation.” What adds to the vagueness in capturing and defining motivation, is the fact that – also for the people it concerns – it is not often verbalised nor even conscious. In modern motivation theories, it is often stressed that a lot of the actual motivators are in fact unconscious or subconscious, cf.: “/…/ one of the most interesting recent developments in the social psychology of motivation has been the growing recognition that many kinds of social behaviours are performed in an almost automatic, spontaneous fashion, without conscious awareness. Even more intriguing are a growing number of findings suggesting that not only that social actors are frequently unaware of the real motivational reasons for their behaviours, but more strikingly, that when questioned they often come up with clearly incorrect or mistaken causal explanations for their actions (Wegner & Gilbert, 2000 in Forgas et al 2005:1-2).
Wegner and Gilbert stress that in analysing motivation, the role of affect and emotions should not be forgotten, cf.: ibid: 7: “/…/ much recent evidence suggests that affective states and moods, however caused, can often be a powerful source of motivated cognition and behaviour. For example, even mild mood states influence how people perceive, interpret, respond to, and communicate in social situations /…/”.
A positive atmosphere is the more important, as we know that even the physical responses of our own bodies predict whether a situation is perceived as positive or negative: “/…/experimental participants who had been asked to adopt a smiling expression judged themselves (i.e. their own well-being) and affective stimuli (e.g., cartoons) more positively. According to self-perception theory, these participants inferred their affective state from their facial expression” (Strack and Deutsch in Fergus 2005: 100).
Our main focus in this article is on how we could create supportive conditions for both students’ selfmotivation and external motivation. Students´ emotions and teachers´ roles The role teachers have in designing the emotional environment in the classroom is often essential. Similarly to what we have expressed before (cf. Mullamaa 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016), Carnell and Lodge (2002: 23) stress the importance of trust and positive relationships in learning. They state (ibid.): “Learning is best promoted in a context of trust, respect and confidence. Pressure and high expectations can be damaging.” Carnell and Lodge (2002: 23) point out the influence factor of “significant others”. More than just direct learning outcomes, a positive teacher-student relationship can influence student school adjustment and – we suggest – through this even the pleasure of attending school and becoming an educated person altogether. Meyer and Turner (2007: 248) point out: “Teachers´ relationships with students have been found to be associated with students’ academic achievement and school adjustment. /…/ Emotional scaffolding can help to establish and sustain positive relationships and classroom climate that support student engagement, learning and perceptions of competence. /…/"
Furthermore, Carnell and Lodge (2002: 23, emphasis mine), claim: “We have noted that young people are often dependent on adults, especially teachers. This observation is supported by our research with one group of Year 10 students. They valued teachers who responded to the particular class,
taking account of their profile of needs. They valued teachers who make an extra effort, like making themselves available to help a young person. They identified three kinds of teachers: those who just do a job, those who are enthusiastic and enjoy passing on their knowledge of their subject, and a third group who live for teaching.”
Meyer and Turner (2007: 245) suggest that teachers should “scaffold” emotions in the classroom: “Scaffolding emotions in classroom” includes “setting a positive emotional tone, building shared understanding, extending understanding, and supporting empathy and mutual respect.” Importantly, their research illuminates a clear link between the emotional atmosphere in the classroom and the learning outcomes: “In our analyses of classroom discourse to discover the instructional characteristics that promote high levels of student involvement in learning, we have found emotional scaffolding to be critical in sustaining students’ understanding of challenging concepts, students’ demonstration of their competencies and autonomy, students’ involvement and persistence, and students’ emotional or personal experiences /…/” (Meyer and Turner 2007: 245).
A study by Stipek et al 1998 (in Meyer and Turner ibid.) shows that “affective climate was the best predictor of student motivation and that positive affect was associated with mastery orientation.” Thus, in providing support to students, teachers should remember that teacher emotions also play a crucial role on students’ learning motivation. Schutz et al (2007: 227, emphasis mine) state: “As teacher identity and emotions are inevitably related to each other, teacher identity is often conveyed and expressed through emotions, whether it is unconscious or conscious.”
Thus, teachers need to constantly monitor themselves as sources for cues of how learning and the learning situation may be perceived, at the same time following the implicit rules for discipline, emotional well-being of the group, and a positive environment in the classroom. In the same vein, Schutz et al (ibid. 231) further point out: “/…/ within the context of classroom activity settings, teachers are expected to display emotions in particular ways depending on the nature of the events /…/. For example, in most transactions with students, teachers are expected to show pleasant emotions and suppress their unpleasant emotions /…/”.
This might suggest that teachers are already quite conscious of what kind of effect their behaviour, gestures and mimics can have on students. Integrating the knowledge into the positive modus operandi can definitely support the students in taking their challenges in autonomous learning, testing their limits in both mastery and performance goal domains, and can hopefully support them – both explicitly and implicitly, impacting both the conscious and subconscious motivation. As our above review suggests, in many such transactions, the good teacher-student cooperation is vital if not even critical for the motivation to persist and the processes to succeed. RESULTS Below we present the results of our study on student-centred learning. We discuss the preferred learning model for the students (student- or teacher-centred). We also try to identify what motivates students in the learning process. The study was carried out in the form of web-discussions, where students (36 respondents) entered their opinions on the topic using our official university e-learning platform. Their input was analysed based on thematic patterning and quantified based on results. The broader methodological framework is ethnographic research (cf. Gilbert 2008). Their input is presented verbatim, the texts have not been edited, also not concerning the language or way of writing. In the analysis of student-teacher cooperation, we analyse the potential of educators to create a positive supportive climate for the learning – affect and motivation, student emotions and teachers’ roles (cf. Carnell and Lodge 2002, Brophy 2004 et al.). The analysis of our 36 students’ entries in the on-line discussion environment gives the following results: 1. In general, the balance between student-centred and teacher-centred learning process is seen to be important by the majority of students. 30 out of our 36 respondents mention it as favourable. Excerpts from student on-line discussions to illustrate this view include:
S1: I would prefer a mixed one meaning a balance of student-centred learning and teacher-centered learning. On the one hand it is a good idea to put a schoolchild/student in the center where he/she can decide what he/she will learn, how he/she will learn, and how he/she will assess their own learning. On the other hand it can be very abusive from schoolchildren/students applying these rules. Thus, I agree that it is sometimes good to have a section that is pre-planned to order the learning process and some limits to the student-centred learning should be set. S2: Well, I strongly believe that student-centered learning is much more effective and interesting than old notion of classroom, where students were just sitting quietly and neatly in their seats, while the teacher was up front pouring wisdom and knowledge into their brains. Student-centered approach develops autonomy and independence by putting responsibility in our hands. Apart from getting education in more efficient way, student-centered learning helps us to develop many practical skills, which are necessary in our everyday life – being independent, confident, responsible, able to control your time, plan your schedule, etc. But I agree with Artem and prefer some kind of mixed approach. I don’t think we should throw away every aspect of teacher-centered learning. It is better to have a pre-planned section very often. There are courses, which include a huge amount of reading materials and you need right direction and advice, which of them are most important. Professors can help you with their experience and knowledge. Also, it would be quite confusing and disorganized if every student could chose only what they wanted to learn. S6: I would also agree with the majority opinion with regard to mixed approach in higher education. If it was only self-management and self-studying, why would we need universities at all? Just to give us costly papers which are called “diplomas”? Self-learners do not seem to need them. I believe that we are going to universities for a such combined approach. Due to the fact that we are not a professionals in all the subjects we are going to study, we need people who are indeed professionals to give us guidance and correct our mistakes within the process. That is the function of each university which creates big part of its economical and social value. S7: Student-centred learning is more interesting, but we still need teacher-centred learning too. Teacher directs all classroom activities, so they don’t have to worry that students will miss an important topic. Also when students work alone, they don’t learn to collaborate with other students, and communication skills may suffer. I agree that it is best to use a combination of approaches. S9: Students graduating from high school is familiar with teacher-centred teaching method because it is how they were taught through out their schooling. They are unused to get involve in the lectures, to find their own reading materials besides provided textbooks and to discuss in a group. Technically, the teacher-centred system exacerbate students’ impetus to learn new themselves. They stay passive and expect for knowledge to be filled with. Fortunately enough, there is a tendency of shift in teaching method from teacher-centred to student-centred. Students are now aware of what they want to study and how to plan their study schedule. Their autonomy has been estimated and raised properly. However, students might not adapt to the new method immediately. They feel lost in making decision when they have no clues how to choose proper subjects to study. It is when the role of teachers has been addressed. Teachers should be the one who guide and instruct students through their study, yet not to nurture with ready-toserve knowledge. Teachers will give feedback on how good students have worked and what could be improved.
2. Only student-centred learning is explicitly favoured by four participants. The examples include e.g.: S11: In common with the most of you I strongly believe that student-centered learning is the best alternitive to form responsible, independent and confident humans. Luckily this is more often the norm than the exception in University and the future tendency in primary-, middle-, and high school. The very fact, that the progressive educational movement consider 100 years ago, that the assignment of a teacher/professor is to go along with the student, not to educate him/her, make it clearly recognizable! S16: I agree that student-centred learning is definitely more effective and students should take control of their learning process to become more independent. In elementary school it is inevitable that teachers have to keep more eye on their pupils, but at the same time it is also important to introduce them step-by-step individual learning skills. But in high school and university most of the learning should be done individually in order to avoid the “spoon-fed” students crisis to occur.
3. The importance of skilful guidance by teachers is clearly expressed in several cases: S35: Nevertheless, although student-centered learning is the very model of a learning process, I am of the view that better learning outcomes can be achieved if student-centered learning is complemented with teacher-centered learning. The teacher’s role is essential in a study plan, not to spoon-fed students but to support them and guide their self-regulated learning to make sure that individuals are flourishing.
4. There were also students who explicitly stated that the existence of teacher-support is necessary for them: S24: Student-centered learning is more interesting than teacher-centred, but if we have only student-centred learning, there will be problems. For example, when students work alone, they do not developing their communications skills. The students may become lazy and may be they don’t feel the importance of learning. Teacher directs all the activities that the students have to do, helps students and give them feedback. The students don’t miss any particular topic. S34: I think, especially after reading this text, that for me it is easier if everything has been done for me. Although I like making my own systems, I usually don’t get to do them, because of the lack of time I have. On the other hand, I don’t want to be totally spoon-fed, because I love to practice the things I have learned to make them comfortable to use and to feel like they are my own. So the best for me would be to have some part of the learning process pre-planned, so I could fill the other part as I want and feel I should be doing this.
5. Even when the teacher-centred approach is favoured, some students still add they would not like to give up their independence: S16: I agree that student-centred learning is definitely more effective and students should take control of their learning process to become more independent. In elementary school it is inevitable that teachers have to keep more eye on their pupils, but at the same time it is also important to introduce them step-by-step individual learning skills. But in high school and university most of the learning should be done individually in order to avoid the “spoon-fed” students crisis to occur. Luckily, I feel that the Estonian education system is student-centred and students are closely involved in the learning process. I personally even prefer when I can plan my time independently and design my learning process S23: Young adults need to plan their time and set personal goals. I think that if everything is pre-planned for them, they can’t really deal with the pressure once they have to step „into the real world”.
6. The majority of the students participating in the study, however, also stressed the importance and relevance of student responsibility: S3: As most of you, I think that even though student-centered learning could be quite enriching, it’s necessary to combine it. If you have everything pre-planned, how are you going to survive after university? Who’s going to guide you? It’s important to be independent, improve your creativity and most of all, gain responsibility as soon as possible. S5: I found idea of self-education very inspiring and efficient for students. It is an excellent way to gain responsibility and to get used to adult world. Spoon-fed students can face some difficulties in real world after graduating university, even despite of their good results. This kind of people can suffer from lack of creativity and are not able to think out of frames. But those qualities are what employers want to see in specialists and what are needed for successful entrepreneurship. A particular attitude towards knowledge gives wish to continue study and is a perfect start for life-long learning. S7: /.../ It is easier to achieve your goals when you can yourself design your learning process and materials. You put your time and effort in it, so you do it more efficient and you have better results. /.../ “Spoon-fed” students don’t have their own opinion, have a lack of imagination. They also cannot bring their examples. They believe everything the teacher says. Students should be allowed to express their own opinion and most important - have their own opinion!
7. A clear connection between motivation, and the teachers’ responsibility to motivate, is expressed: S32: I just want to add that if you really want the going to school, attending the courses kind of education to work, it is very important how you deliver the knowledge to students. Many times teachers do not know how to teach. Because as a teacher, you are also a entertainer, speaker, actor. Looking at you teaching must take all my focus and must be fun. Therefore even if some teachers are very good in their field of knowledge, it is no use if their are boring and not appealing. And more important then presenting particular information, I like better when teacher creates a curiosity and motivates me. And then let me find the most proper materials, and the best way for me how to get my head around the topic. What I mean is for example, when Jacque Fresco was teaching his son how to read, he would read him every evening very good book. One night he was like .... “and then in the final moment ... “ You know what son I don’t really feel like reading it anymore, good night. If you want to know what happened learn how to read. And soon after this his son started to learn how to read by himself because he wanted to. Teacher should learn how to motivate students.
8. Ideal teacher role. Student expectations of teachers are high, and the ideal teacher involvement is described in a couple of cases: S23: But also I think that teachers are still very important for an effective studying process. I believe that nowadays teacher role has changed more into a tutor role – they show students a direction for moving forward. They are more like guides in this supersaturated modern world, where it is really hard to orientate in the information field.
CONCLUSION In this paper we have taken a look at some recent theorists’ views on motivation. The importance of the student-teacher roles, teacher modelling, support and creating a positive atmosphere was mentioned. As a theoretical background, we resorted to theories of motivation and research results on student-centred learning (cf. Reeve 2009, Forgas 2005, Wegner and Gilbert 2000). In the empirical part we gave an overview of the pilot-study of a student e-environment based discussion on whether students favour the student-centred or teacher-centred learning-teaching model, and if and what kind of connection this may have to motivation. The method was thematic analysis of students’ on-line discussions on the issue, out of which we brought examples and excerpts to illustrate and analyse their dominant views. The results showed that the majority of students favoured the “balanced view” with both student- and teacher-centred approaches combined. Typically, students emphasise that they need a well thought through course structure and lesson-plan, which accommodates students’ interest- and career-focused choices. They wish to envision and follow the course goals themselves. The process of learning, the why we do it, as well as the more general goals in life become all the more important for students, and their role entails learning to take this responsibility as well as learning to cooperate with teachers, seeing them as partners on this way. A great proportion of students (30 out of 36) stated that they highly valued the possibility to take responsibility and participate in the part allowing them to design the course goals, aims, and materials. This attitude in the sample group consolidates the understanding that modern students need to be seen as equal partners in the learning design. They are willing to and capable of taking the responsibility. They see this opportunity as an integral part of good quality course-design and teaching. The empirical part of the paper illustrates that students in the sample studied indeed do appreciate the individualisation and participation in course build-up and practice. Thus we can conclude that student-centred learning and teaching is essential for students. The aspects of motivation mentioned in the literature review are of considerable importance for knowing how to better accommodate to this. Motivation, student-centred learning and teaching form an important triangle where finding the right balance supports students and teachers alike. REFERENCES Brophy, Jere. 2004. Motivating Students to Learn. Second edition. Mahwah, New Jersey, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Carnell, Eileen and Lodge, Caroline. 2002. Supporting Effective Learning. Paul Chapman Publishing. A SAGE Publications Company. Great Britain, Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, Wilts. 17
Copage, Judy. 2013. The power of choice: motivation through learner autonomy. Lecture given at the further education training of English teachers in Estonia on March 5, 2013. Organised by Pearson and AS Dialoog, hotel London, Tartu. Dörnyei, Zoltan. 2001a. Teaching and Researching Motivation. Pearson Education Limited. Malaysia, LSP. Dörnyei, Zoltan. 2001b. Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom Harackiewicz, Judith, Durik, Amanda, Barron, Kenneth. 2005. “Multiple Goals, Optimal Motivation, and the Development of Interest”. In: Forgas, Joseph, Williams, Kipling, Laham, Simon. 2005. Social Motivation. Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Delhi: Cambridge University Press. 21–40. Kiggins, Julie., Cambourne, Brian. 2007. The knowledge building community program. In: T. Townsend, R. Bates (Eds.), Handbook of Teacher Education. Globalization, Standards and Professionalism in Times of Change. Springer. 365–381. Mullamaa, Kristina. 2009. Ethics in teaching. Humanising Language Teaching Magazine, 11(3), 22–35. 1.2. Mullamaa, Kristina. 2011. The challenges and opportunities of on-line language teaching. Humanising Language Teaching, 13(1), 12–24. 6.3. Mullamaa, Kristina. 2015. Motivating aspects of modern e-learning – from individualisation to gamification. Dubai. HMSU University. Innovation Arabia 8. Innovation Arabia http://www.innovationarabia.ae/ innovation-arabia-8/conference-proceedings. Conference proceedings. Mullamaa, Kristina. 2016. Teachers as Supporters in the Modern Learning Process. In: Emerging Horizons. Eesti Ülikoolide Kirjastus. Reeve, Johnmarshall. 2009.Understanding Motivation and Emotion. Fifth edition. John Wiley & Sons, INC. USA. Schutz, Paul and Pekrun, Reinhard. 2007. Emotion in Education. Amsterdam, Boston, Heidelberg, London, New York, Oxford, Paris, San Diego, San Fransisco, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo: Academic Press, Elsevier. Schutz, Paul, Cross, Dionne et al. 2007.“Teacher Identities, Beliefs and Goals Related to Emotions in the Classroom”. In Schutz, Paul and Pekrun, Reinhard. 2007. Emotion in Education. Amsterdam, Boston, Heidelberg, London, New York, Oxford, Paris, San Diego, San Fransisco, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo: Academic Press, Elsevier. 223–243.
How well do you know Perth, Scotland? (Pictures on p. 44) Perth is a smallish town in Scotland. There is a much larger city with the same name in Australia. It was usual that places in British colonies were named after some place in the motherland, so the Australian Perth also takes its name from the original Scottish Perth.
Pictures: 1. The Fair Maid of Perth, a bronze statue by Graham Ibbeson. The Fair Maid of Perth was a novel by Sir Walter Scott; it inspired Georges Bizet to compose the opera La jolie fille de Perth. 2. St John’s Kirk is the oldest building still standing in Perth – built in stages between 1440 and 1500 on the site of a much earlier church. 3. King James VI Hospital, founded by King James VI (1566–1625) of Scotland who became King James I of England and Ireland in 1603. The hospital building dates from1750 and has been converted into flats. 4. Wetherspoon House, built in 1876 as a bank, now houses a pub called The Capital Asset. 5. The Ring sculpture by David Annand in High Street, inspired by William Soutar’s (1898–1943) poem Nay Dae Sae Dark (no day so dark).
TWO-WAY JOB SHADOWING Reet Soosaar
Pärnu College of the University of Tartu
The world today presents teachers with both challenges and opportunities. Providing opportunities for teachers to participate in short-term experiences abroad is one way to develop new thinking and deeper awareness of cultural diversity. Such trips can strengthen teachers’ knowledge, skills and competences, enhance their cultural awareness in preparation for today’s classroom. How I started with PBL To talk about job shadowing, I’ll have to start from 2009, because this is when I started with project-based learning (PBL). Soon enough I realized that this method is just what my students majoring in entrepreneurship and project management need. First it was just an idea – what if learn the basics of project management by having a simulation of a project and do everything in the English class in the process of working on a project? What is critical about PBL for language teaching and learning is the way in which activities are highly interactive and integrated, so that while students are practising and developing language skills in the four main language learning areas – reading, writing, speaking and listening – they are also developing interpersonal skills, such as team work and organization. No doubt it took a lot of thinking and planning. As a result, the language learning module of project management for the first-year students involves a one-month “project” (launching a product or service onto the market) to get the first idea of project work. In time I understood that this was the best way to put theory in practice and give them real-life, meaningful tasks where they can see the end-result (a kind of summary of all the efforts they’ve put into it). The years that followed strengthened my understanding that it helps my students understand the essence of project management, acquire specific content vocabulary and develop the key skills necessary for the future. Time went on and each course ended with a final project presentation (there are about 70 in the archive by now). Students’ feedback was positive, and, in their opinion, it was fun but not only… I agree that the most satisfying moments in a student’s life are generated by successful achievement at school, which not only brings joy to the student, but is also useful for their future career. Obviously, my enthusiasm about PBL didn’t fade away. One thing leads to another I applied for Erasmus+ funding and in May 2015 attended an international week “Language Teaching Tomorrow” for higher education language teachers, organized by Tampere University of Applied Sciences and Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. I must say it is a great opportunity for teachers of English in higher educational institutions to make contacts and share their experience. I made a workshop there about supporting collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit in the classroom sharing my PBL experience. Sharing the ideas and good practice is always valuable as it gives a start to new international contacts. That particular international week was not an exception. It resulted in an intercultural cooperation project 19
of the students of higher educational institutions from five European countries –Finland, Hungary, Poland, Spain and Tartu University Pärnu College from Estonia in the autumn semester of 2015. An article about my PBL teaching methods in an online newsletter of the international week “Language Teaching Tomorrow” had caught the eye of Cristina España, an English teacher at EOI Collado-Villalba in Spain who was also interested in fostering PBL in her English classes to adult learners. She contacted me in January 2016 and asked for my consent to job shadow me in my English classes for five days, while I was teaching the PBL module. She was eager to establish institutional links that would allow collaboration between us and interaction among Estonian and Spanish students. I showed the “green light”, which started a process of emailing, composing Erasmus+ applications and work plans, getting approvals, and signing two-sided agreements. It ended in June 2016, when the application was accepted, and funds were granted. It goes without saying that it was time-intensive for both of us, but worthwhile. I felt very excited about job shadowing and finally, we met in Pärnu thanks to a Job Shadowing activity funded by Key Action 1 (learning mobility of individuals) Erasmus+ in September 2016. Job shadowing in Pärnu, Estonia We had defined the boundaries of the job shadowing in the work plan, and it included observing my contact classes on Project Management, co-teaching “Project planning” with me to collaborate in facilitating learning and interviewing my first-year students to find out their perspective about the PBL experience. Cristina also gave two lectures within the professional development plan for teachers of English in Pärnu about good practice in Spanish language classes and active engagement of students. During these five days we had a lot of chance to discuss both personal and professional issues in a relaxing setting after classes and while having lunch or Cristina España at the travel wall in Pärnu College a coffee break. Thanks to her friendly nature, Cristina felt at ease at Pärnu College, she was welcomed by my colleagues and easily made friends with our students. I was very impressed to see we had a lot of things in common. Like me, Cristina was also teaching e-courses, so we discussed different web-based resources and introduced our digital tools. We discovered a shared interest in improving the motivation of our adult students and increasing their employability. We took a lot of time to find common ground on the incorporation of a project-based learning module within the general lesson planning. Out of these discussions, Project Estonia was conceived as an opportunity to implement PBL in a European context by crossing national education borders, fostering intercultural communication and developing students’ employability skills. In an initial stage of the project, small groups of Spanish students were tasked with the evaluation of Estonian students’ oral presentations of new products or services to be launched in the marketplace, which was Estonian students’ final task in their English Business Communication class. As the presentations were recorded, Spanish student teams could watch them online. The assessment reports Spanish students were assigned to write took into consideration the language criteria established at their language school for their own speaking/writing production, as well as delivery and presentation techniques. Both of us participated in the development of the assessment tools Spanish students used for the evaluation of Estonian students. The assessment reports were published online, which made it possible to discuss them afterwards with the Estonian students. 20
Job shadowing in EOI Collado-Villalba, Spain The second stage of the project started when I received Erasmus+ funds through the University of Tartu to observe Cristina España’s teaching in May 2017. EOI Collado-Villalba is a public language school that teaches learners, aged 16+, who come from different walks of life. The memories from this visit are amazing! I was impressed by the way Cristina engaged her students in my itinerary. I got my first “ah-ha” moment when at my arrival at Madrid airport I was welcomed by a student – Juan – who drove me to Collado-Villalba. As Cristina was having full work days during my visit and couldn’t meet me there, she asked one of her students, Juan, who was eager to practice his English. Or whenever I had to walk to the school or back to the hotel I was always accompanied by one student of hers, just to give them a chance to speak English as Cristina put it. These students needed more practice as they were not the best speakers of English in the class. So, this is one specific activity and idea from the host school I brought back for use in my classroom.
Poster designed by Cristina España's students
I had expressed a wish to spend one day in Madrid on my own, and Cristina had designed a special, really purposeful learning task to her students who had developed an “In and Around Madrid Guide”, including tourist attractions in the area. The Guide collected students’ tourist tips for me to make the best of my stay in Spain and Madrid. It proved to be really useful, not to say heartwarming with students’ personal messages to me. So, anyone who plans to visit Madrid some day, may find valuable first-hand recommendations here: https://issuu.com/gt2017/docs/final_in_and_around_madrid_ guide Finally, this learning project culminated in a reception on 10 May 2017 at the exhibit organized by EOI Collado-Villalba. This exhibit included a display of posters at a local cultural centre to promote this language school. Spanish students who had prepared presentations welcomed and guided me throughout the Spanish educational system, the educational offerings at state-run language schools in Madrid and different teacher-led activities organized at EOI Collado-Villalba, including their own experience as active participants in Project Estonia. It was really touching to see how the Spanish students (their age ranging from 25 to 60) had prepared for this event and individual presentation. It was impossible not to notice their excitement and anxiety, but also a great pride and relief from their accomplishment.
In and Around Madrid Guide
Benefits I honestly believe this has been a very rewarding experience for both of us and a plus for both of our educational institutions. Enriched by two teaching observation activities, Project Estonia has impacted the participants, and our educational practices. Job shadowing challenged me as a person and as a teacher. I had to step
Exhibit and student presentations organized by EOI Collado 21
out of my comfort zone. Coming home after my job shadowing experience gave me a huge confidence boost in all aspects of my teaching. It helped me see different approaches to education – what works in the classroom, and how to be a more conscious teacher. This experience created lasting friendships and our cooperation continues. As Cristina is working on her PhD, we are planning to publish an article together about developing transversal competences in ELT with PBL. Cristina Espana: This experience shows that the encouragement of European teachers to establish partnerships between different European educational institutions is beneficial, having multiple positive effects on the educational community at large. What is more, engaging students in action-oriented, authentic tasks enhances autonomous and responsible lifelong learning. To me, the most important consequence of the “two-way job shadowing” – I love this expression – is having found a friend and a new educational partner who shares my interests and is willing to embark with me on boats with unknown destinations … something like getting on a Columbus expedition…
WORDS, WORDS, WORDS: SOME CURRENT EXPRESSIONS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS Julia Hirsch
Professor Emerita Brooklyn College (City University of New York)
Long before I took up the formal study of language, I started collecting words. I’d write down unfamiliar ones in a little notebook, look up their definition, and come up with schemes on how to integrate them into my daily life. My project was hard to realize as, at the age of eight or nine, there was no way I could use such words as “insidious” or “extravagant” in my daily life: I was a school child in New York in the 1950s, and most of my classmates read Classic Comics. Later on, having a sturdy vocabulary paid off, as I did well on all those standardized tests children had to take to qualify for special programs in the arts and sciences. And later still, it helped me appear quite literate when I moved to London where my classmates had far more sophisticated language skills than the ones my contemporaries had had in New York. A lot has happened to English since then – more diversity, less formality in daily discourse, among many other changes – and I continue to listen for new usages. Here are some that have gotten my attention. • “No problem” in place of “you’re welcome,” a phrase I hardly hear any more even among non-native speakers who may use language more conservatively. I first heard this usage about a decade ago spoken by a favorite student who was a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico. I assumed – wrongly – that she had adapted a phrase she knew from home, but then I started hearing it everywhere. “No problem,” indeed: to me the phrase suggests that something done for me, and for which I’m expressing appreciation, was a nuisance or bother to the person who, with what I took to be kindness, was tending to my wants or needs. When I hear this phrase spoken to me I’m sorely tempted to answer, “Well, then, I’m sorry I asked you. Sorry to be a bother, won’t look to you for sympathy or kindness again!” Of course, to say such a thing would be awkward and rude – and the rejoinder might well be, “No problem!” 22
• “Are you still working on that?” This question is commonplace among waiters and waitresses – now called “wait-people” – in modest and even not so modest restaurants. The sight of a patron engaging in conversation but not busy with the food on his or her plate seems to trigger this question: the idea that one might like to eat at a leisurely pace, occasionally stopping to savor a bite, or taking a reflective moment in the midst of an enjoyable meal, seems alien to those who ask this (annoying) question. It also implies that food consumption, otherwise known as eating, or maybe even dining, is a burdensome task to be gotten over as soon as possible. At times, the server eager to remove my plate on which a morsel of delicious food is still apparent, will let me know that their “shift is nearly over,” which translates into “My work day is at an end and I want to collect my tip.” Unfortunately for the server, this response is rewarded with my lingering even longer and leaving a smaller tip. (A tip or gratuity is an optional payment ranging between 10% and 20% of the cost of the meal, given to the person who has served it. When I was in Germany a few weeks ago, I was told that this custom is not always observed in Europe. Instead, a kind of VAT tax is added to the cost of the meal. I haven’t had the opportunity to find out the extent of this practice.) On the more positive side of current usage are some expressions I find very useful and appealing. Among these are: • “price point.” This is another way of saying “cost of” or “price.” As someone who is often tempted to buy things that are too expensive for my budget, I’m embarrassed to say to a salesperson, “Sorry, but I can’t afford this $400 pair of shoes.” Then I learned the words “price point” and now, without the slightest blush or discomfort, I can say, “Lovely shoes, but they don’t meet my price point.” This usage makes me feel in control, rather than a hapless pauper. • “comfort zone.” These words have much the same function as the two I just mentioned: they offer a way out of a difficult or embarrassing situation. Rather than say that I can’t write a comment for OPEN! about the current state of things in the United States, I can truly say that writing about it would be “outside my comfort zone.” • “process.” The word can be both a verb (“The bank hasn’t yet processed my loan application”) and a noun (“Making good wine is a long process.”) But the word also has a more idiomatic usage indicating the way someone does something.“Before writing a short story, Mary writes detailed notes about character, plot and setting. I really admire her process.” In other words, “I really admire how she goes about writing.” Or I might ask Mary, “What is your process?” • “doing one’s homework.” A phrase that reminds us of childhood school days. It means something like “being diligent,” or “attentive to detail.” In preparing a trip and deciding by what means to travel, one would want to compare the relative prices of trains, buses, car travel and perhaps even airplanes. That would mean finding out about access to train, bus stations, airports, tolls and the cost of petrol in different parts of the country – or the world. The person who asks the right questions and makes a thorough search for the answers is “doing her homework.” • “all good.” This simple phrase brimming with positive feeling, means about the same as “putting a good face” on something, but is perhaps a bit more positive. For instance, it’s cold, it’s been raining all day, but a friend has come to visit. In answer to the question, “how is your day going,” one might answer, “The weather is awful, but my friend has come to see me, it’s all good,” meaning that the day is a bit dismal, but the friend’s visit has dispelled the gloom. What I see as the common thread among these expressions is that they whittle away at social differences, perhaps even at judgmental language, as in “all good.” The person eager for me to finish my meal has as much right as I have to setting limits on whatever obligation we might have to each other as set by the context in which we meet, nor do I need to reveal my financial status to a salesperson who’s simply trying to do her job. There is an effort here, at least verbally, to level economic inequities, and that serves me as much as it serves the person at the other end of the exchange. While these current phrases and expressions imply issues of social stratification, others, without those implications, continue to be in use. We sum up the effects of events or situations with “at the end of the day” and “when all is said and done.” Another expression addressing outcomes is “the bottom line,” an accounting term. People will still say that someone who has embarrassed themselves has “egg on their face.” “Making lemonade out of lemons” (sour fruit) is still used to describe a bad situation turned artfully to the good. Two expressions associated with product safety –“shelf life” and “sell-by-date” – are often 23
used metaphorically to denote something that is outdated or outworn, as in “this sofa is old-fashioned; it has far outlived its sell-by date.” “Shelf life” also addresses a limit in time and can be used the same way. In opening an old can of paint that I might want to use again, I might discover that the color has changed a bit and observe that it is “past its shelf life.” Were George Orwell observing language today (as he did in his timeless essay on Politics and the English Language, written nearly seventy years ago), he would no doubt leap upon the term “fake news”. But he’s not here to dig deep into the language of our times. Language and discourse – the words we choose to communicate – are vibrant indicators of social conditions and social change. Listening to what people are saying, to the words they use, offers us a great opportunity to peer into the subtler recesses of current attitudes, and, even when we cannot observe people first hand, as we walk down the street or stand in line at the supermarket, we can listen and learn. We can learn much as well from the internet and from social media, all excellent resources of today’s usage.
DEEPLY STEEPED IN HISTORY, RISING TO THE SKIES, PLUNGING INTO WATERS Erika Jeret
A lot of Estonian people have been to the UK; popular destinations include London and its surroundings, Scotland and Wales. Many organised trips compiled by travel agents take in Oxford, Cambridge, Cornwall and Devon or include small bites of both England and Scotland or combine England and Wales. To remind ourselves of geography, the British Isles consist of the larger islands of Great Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and thousands of smaller islands. Traditionally, the island of Great Britain is referred to as the mainland, distinguishing it thus from other isles and islands. Therefore, you come across phrases like “Highlands and Islands” in Scotland or, for example, hear a person from Orkney say they will be travelling to the mainland by the next ferry. The following article highlights some places of interest on the south coast the of England. Within an easy reach from London lies a beautiful island – the Isle of Wight, or The Island, or IoW in common parlance. The island is located between the Solent1 and the English Channel and is approximately 380 square kilometres in size, fitting well between the larger Estonian islands of Hiiumaa (989 km2) and Muhu (198 km2). The population on the Isle of Wight is about 140,000 and thus surpasses by far the population numbers on these Estonian islands. Locals say the Isle of Wight is not growing any larger in size, but the increasing numbers of residents claim more land for residential estates, the need for services is rising and roads are filled with more and more vehicles creating traffic jams every now and then. Needless to say that most Victorian holiday towns were not designed to tackle modern vehicle flows. Climate on the Isle of Wight is somewhat sunnier and warmer than in the rest of the country, with a particular microclimate in the Undercliff, a tract of land along the southern coast, which is even warmer, and which allows growing Mediterranean plants outdoors. The island is in Hardiness Zone 9, in comparison Estonia is in zones 5 and 6. The Isle of Wight can be reached by ferry from Southampton (which is well connected to London and its airports by frequent rail and bus services) or by hovercraft (allegedly the only large passenger hovercraft remaining in the world), which runs from Southsea in Portsmouth to Ryde. Passenger ferries from Southampton travel to West Cowes in 30 minutes, and vehicle-carrying ferries to East Cowes in 1
The Solent is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.
about an hour. Regular bus services link the port and train station in Southampton, making one’s travel and transfers even smoother. Tourism is still the largest industry on the island and there is no shortage of accommodation suited to all tastes and budgets of visitors. Traditional British seaside holidays were slowly replaced during the latter half of the 20th century by new diverse offers of nature, walking and cycling holidays. There is a dense network of walking paths and even an annual walking festival! Sailing and marine-related activities are another contributor to the island’s economy. Wildlife, stunning scenery and geological wonders also attract thousands of visitors. The island has a lot to offer for families with children, a notable feature being Blackgang Chine theme park, the oldest in the UK, established in 1843 and still in the same family. The Isle of Wight became a favourite holiday spot for Victorians in the 19th century, even before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased Osborne House on the island, where Osborne House became their retreat from bustling court life in London. Famous seaside towns include Ventnor, Shanklin, Sandown and Cowes. The island’s central county town and shopping destination is Newport. This island has also earned a nickname “Dinosaur Island” for it is one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils. This heritage of dinosaur bones and footprints exposed in and on the rocks and beaches has certainly been turned into a tourist magnet with a custom-built dinosaur museum in Sandown at its helm. Victoria and Albert were the most notable royal personas on the island; this is also where Victoria died in 1901. However, King Charles I of England was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle for over a year after having been deposed. Other outstanding people, if one was to name a few, would include: writer Charles Dickens, poets John Keats, Alfred Tennyson and Algernon Charles Swinburne, influential philosopher Karl Marx of the nineteenth century; film director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), and current contemporary celebrities such as survival expert Bear Grylls and conspiracy theorist David Icke. People with green fingers would recognise the name of Alan Titchmarsh, gardener and presenter, author of many books and articles on gardening. Keen gardeners and people with interest in hard and soft landscaping would find various gardens, parks and woodlands on the island featuring high levels of gardening and garden design skills or an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous landscape architects. Appuldurcombe was once one of the grandest mansions on the island, a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture. Today only a shell of the house, it has still retained some of its former distinctive dignity, along with many fine architectural details. The celebrated landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–1783) put his touches to the rolling grounds in the 1780s. Mansion’s lawns and woodlands are accessible, and the site is free to visit and admire from May to September (run by the charity English Heritage).
Appuldurcombe House 25
Ventnor Botanic Garden, also called Britain’s hottest garden for its location in the Undercliff and enjoying a special microclimate, features an unrivalled subtropical and exotic plant collection. The garden proudly states that due to a sheltered location and mildness of climate they are able to grow outdoors such plants that would normally only survive in glasshouses in Great Britain. The garden contains various nooks for different plants, has trails to explore, for example, champion trees and dinosaur plants, a secret garden and a nature hunt game. There is a 350-foot long vaulted roofed tunnel from the garden to the cliffs, which exits through the cliff midway down and offers grand views of the island and the English Channel. Note that the tunnel is only accessible on guided walks. It may take quite a few hours to explore all the botanic garden has to offer and probably still not exhaust all its wonders. Its pretty glasshouse is a bit run down today and beds would need more nifty weeding hands. In spring 2018 the visitors were warned by a note on an access gate that “The Beast from The East” (an unusually cold and violent winter storm) had taken its toll and blooming was greatly reduced. However, the garden’s charming settings surpass its fraying round the edges and a nice cup of coffee or good rummaging for interesting items in the gift shop should lift the spirits again. English Heritage once asked their Facebook followers to name their favourite castle. The top 10 also featured Carisbrooke castle. According to its website, Carisbrooke has survived more than 800 years of service, resisting a French siege and seeing off the Spanish Armada. It has a Norman keep and you can walk right around the castle on the battlements and see across the island in all directions. If this is not enough to whet your appetite, history lovers would know that Carisbrooke was the prison for the deposed Charles I. The king was held here for 14 months before his execution in 1649.
The Isle of Wight is also known for its donkeys, and these beasts are a considerable attractant to the castle. All the resident donkeys at Carisbrooke have names beginning with the letter ‘J’. This tradition was started when Charles I was a prisoner here, and he always signed his letters with a ‘J’. So, for 150 years all the donkeys at the castle have had a name beginning with this letter claims the official website. Currently they have Jack and Jill, Jigsaw and Juno. The castle holds daily demonstrations of working the 16th-century tread wheel to raise the water from the bottom of the castle well (49 metres). The donkeys who do the job do not have to raise all the water required in the castle grounds every day though and, after a short demonstration, can retire to their pastures. When feeling particularly pig-headed, a donkey may need a lot of persuasion before treading the large wheel. The fabulous Princess Beatrice garden celebrates the time when the Princess (the fifth daughter and 26
last child of Victoria and Albert) lived at the castle as Governor of the Isle of Wight. She held this position from 1896 until her death in 1944, and from 1913 the walled garden became her private or ‘privy’ garden. Carisbrooke’s Princess Beatrice Garden was awarded first place in the category of Best Small Tourist Attraction by “Isle of Wight in Bloom 2017”. The garden has the charming period planting, water features and an orchard, and it can be viewed from the ground level and from the battlement walk. The term “period planting” means that only the plants (both species and varieties) that were used in the UK during her lifetime would be used in the garden. Osborne House is an estate designed, cherished and lived in by Victoria and Albert. It is set in a stunning landscape with valleys and woodlands, fields and walking trails. The main house is an Italianate building with many wings and floors (it was a large household indeed, yet much smaller than Buckingham Palace), many rooms are still filled with original furniture and works of art, showing the owners’ personal tastes. Swiss Cottage, a two-storey wooden chalet, is hidden in the woods about a kilometre from the main building. The Cottage and its gardens were designed by Prince Albert, and this is where he taught children tending to crops and basics of economics (he would buy vegetables, fruits and flowers grown by children at a market price). His educational programme for the children, in today’s terms, would be a combination of hands-on training and experiential learning in entrepreneurship and environmental/ outdoor studies.
Osborne House top terrace The upper terraces at Osborne House have fascinating sea views and are decorated with seasonal plantings, which include plants Victoria would have been familiar with. There is also a walled garden nearby, a former kitchen garden with glasshouses for exotic plants and cold frames, decorative and edible plants. In 2018 gardeners were excited to see the espaliered lemon and orange trees bear fruit. Osborne gardeners also took part in ‘Battlefields to Butterflies’ project which pays horticultural tribute to the men of the Royal Parks and Palace gardens who lost their lives in the First World War and marks the centenary of the end of the Great War. One expects gardeners to tend to living flowers in their jobs, but at Osborne they designed a shell-shocked, torn and battered battlefield and planted it with dead trees to create an evocative and bleak landscape. Later, local children seeded and planted the battlefield with wild flowers which once were the first to emerge in the blood-soaked theatre of war. There are several walks in the grounds, and if you think that it takes too much effort to walk between sites, there are frequent dedicated mini bus services for visitors. As recently as in 2012, the Queen’s beach with her bathing machine became accessible to the public. Nibbling at an ice-cream cone while sitting in the Queen’s alcove on the beach and watching smaller and larger ships and boats sail past with Portsmouth cityscape visible across the Solent is a mouth-watering and memorable experience. Geologically the island is also varied, and remarkable landscape features include Alum Bay with its multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, while the Needles are said to be the most photographed group of rocks 27
(stacks of chalk) in the world. There is a great deal to do and see on the island. If one still has thirst for more excitement, history-filled Southampton and Portsmouth are a short crossing away. The latter is home to the Historic Dockyard where visitors can see such famous ships as Henry VIII’ s Mary Rose, Lord Nelson’ s Victory or HMS Warrior, launched in 1860 and the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet, visit several museums with fascinating displays or take a harbour tour on the water. Even though the Isle of Wight may seem off the beaten track from the Baltic point of view, during my visit in the spring of 2018, I met one resident Estonian and two Estonian tourists on the island. See the Isle of Wight for yourself and explore it far and wide is my advice. London is not England as Tallinn does not represent Estonia, and Great Britain has many beautiful (not so) hidden gems to discover. Photos by Erika Jeret and Karin Kadak
TEACHING OF ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TARTU IN THE TSARIST PERIOD Ilmar Anvelt
Editor of OPEN! The previous issue of Open! included an overview of the colourful life and career of Benjamin Beresford, the first English lecturer at the University of Tartu (Anvelt 2018). This article is about his successors in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Unfortunately, teaching of English was not of major importance in the Tsarist period; there was just one lecturer who taught a few classes a week. Neither was teaching of English under the Tsarist rule continuous – some lecturers worked in Tartu for a few years only, and sometimes the post of the English lecturer even remained vacant for shorter or longer periods. If not mentioned otherwise, the information in this article is based on the lecture schedules of the University of Tartu (Verzeichnis, Obozrenie).
The lecturers of English who worked in Tartu for a longer time were Johann Friedrich Thörner (taught English from 1817 to 1836), John Jakob Dede (1838–1858), and Thomas Green (1865–1875). It might be added that the arrival in Tartu of Thomas Green attracted attention in the Estonian-language press. Eesti Postimees of 1 September 1865 wrote: Ued prohwesserid. Neid on meile jubba nelli tulnud ja wies endise prohwesser Dr. Christiani assemele on weel odata. Nelli essimest on omma luggemmissi uniwersitätis jubba allustanud. 1) Dr. Leo Meyer 19. Augustil, 2) Dr. Adolw Wagner 20. Augustil, 3) Dr. E. Winkelmann, kes Tallinnast tulli, 21. Augustil ja 4) ingliskele õppetaja Thomas Green 23. Aug. 28
(New professors. Four of them have arrived here already and the fifth, to replace the earlier Professor Dr Christian, is expected. The first four have started their lectures at the university already. 1) Dr Leo Mayer on 19 August, 2) Dr Adolw Wagner on 20 August, 3) Dr E. Winkelmann, who arrived from Tallinn, on 21 August and 4) teacher of English Thomas Green on 23 Aug.) For shorter periods, the post was filled by the first English lecturer Benjamin Beresford (1803–1806), John Alexander Montague (1807–1812), Emil v. Kiel (1858–1861), Robert Boyle (1876–1879), Julius Faerber (1887–1892). In 1895, William Rolleston was elected to the post of the English lecturer but was soon dismissed, as he failed to turn up for work (Levitski 1903: 619). The last lecturers of the Tsarist period also worked for shortish periods – Leonard Sydney Owen from 1910 to 1915 and Johan Ernst Einhard Andersen from 1916 to 1917. As can be seen from the above, there were several periods when the English lecturer’s post was vacant – 1813–1817, in 1837, 1858–1859, 1862–1865, 1879–1886, for the longest time from 1892 to 1909, and in the second semester of 1915 and the first semester of 1916. Some lecturers taught several subjects. As mentioned in the previous article, Benjamin Beresford also taught Italian (1804–1806). J. F. Thörner was initially employed in 1804 as the lecturer of Russian and translator of university correspondence into Russian. From 1817 to 1822, he taught both Russian and English, from 1823 onwards, only English (Levitski 1903: 309). John Dede acted as a substitute for the professor of statistics and geography from 1852 to 1854. J. E. E. Andersen also taught French. The academic degrees and other titles of the lecturers differed. All of them were referred to as “Lecturer of English” (Lector der englischen Sprache); sometimes their rank in the service hierarchy was indicated – “lecturer of the tenth class” (von der zehnter Klasse). B. Beresford had a doctoral degree from the University of Halle (the present Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg) (Shelley 1936: 479). John Dede was referred to as doctor in the schedule of lectures from 1852. His book Was hat Oesterreich in Folge der Jahre 1848 und 1849 durch seine Regierung errungen? (What has Austria Achieved through its Government after 1848 and 1849? Leipzig 1855) seems to have been of significance, as recent reprints have been published (Sligo, Ireland: HardPress Publishing 2013, London: Forgotten Books 2018). Some lecturers had higher titles in the official hierarchy of the Russian Empire. J. F. Thörner had the title of Titular Councillor (Titulärrath) from 1828. J. Dede bore the title of Collegiate Assessor (Collegienassessor) from 1851 and Court Councillor (Hofrath) from 1852. The schedule of lectures defines the content of courses in varying degrees of detail. At first, it is only said that English is taught. Later, more details are added, although not systematically, about the aspects of the language (grammar, pronunciation), the textbooks, the authors or periods in literature. As early as 1808, it is said that A. Montague will lecture about English grammar (wird über die Englische Grammatik lesen). In the following year, he publicly conducted a conversation class (Conversatorium) and lectured on grammar in private (privatim). The term Conversatorium was used also used by J. F. Thörner who held them in both Russian and English. The lecture schedules for the second half-year of 1824 and the following years announce that J. F. Thörner will teach English grammar, particularly pronunciation, according to the principles of Sheridan and Walker (although we would not consider pronunciation part of grammar nowadays). Thomas Sheridan and John Walker were pioneers of English pronunciation dictionaries – Sheridan published his General Dictionary of the English Language, which was the first dictionary to indicate clearly the pronunciation of every word, in 1780. Walker’s A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language came out in 1791 (Sheldon 1947: 131). The lecture schedule of 1827 also mentions that J. F. Thörner will teach the rules of the English language, paying particular attention to the correct pronunciation and intonation (Tonsetzung). That was done according to the 13th edition of Arnold’s Englischer Grammatik. The works of literature explained and translated in the classes ranged from classics like Milton and Shakespeare to popular novels. 29
Literature is first mentioned in 1810 when A. Montague presented an overview of English literature from Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343–1400) to 1785. This seems to have been a one-time effort, as the next time literature appears in the lecture schedules is in 1826 when J. F. Thörner dealt with Thomson’s The Seasons. James Thomson (1700–1748) was a Scottish writer; the German composer Joseph Haydn used the German translation of The Seasons as the text for his oratorio Die Jahreszeiten. In 1826–1827, Thörner translated and explained Milton’s Paradise Lost. In 1828, Thörner asked his students to translate selected excerpts from Alexander Pope’s works. Several lecturers taught the works of Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice (1851, lecturer J. Dede), Henry IV (1853, 1857, J. Dede; 1866, T. Green), Macbeth (1855, J. Dede; 1860, E. v. Kiel; 1917, E. E. Andersen), Hamlet (1856, J. Dede), King Lear (1861, E. v. Kiel), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1858, J. Dede; 1871, T. Green), Henry V (1867, T. Green). In 1910, L. E. Owen provided a course on the emergence and development of English drama – Shakespeare and his predecessors. In the autumn term of 1918, the lecturer of the German-language Landesuniversität Eduard Eckhardt was meant to give a general introduction to Shakespeare and explain King Henry IV. The Landesuniversität, however, could operate for slightly more than two months only. Other works of literature dealt with in the classes include Vicar of Wakefield, a popular novel by the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774), which was translated and explained by J. F. Thörner in 1827–1828. In 1840, J. Dede explained the historical novel Waverley by the Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771–1832). In 1852, J. Dede used The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent by the American writer Washington Irving (1783–1859), as it provided excellent descriptions of English and American life. Teaching of the literary text was combined with syntactic and etymological rules of English. In the second term of 1852, J. Dede taught history of English literature according to Robert Chambers’ History of the English Language et Literature, 4th edition, Edinburgh, 1837. Brothers William and Robert Chambers founded W. & R. Chambers Publishers, nowadays best known for The Chambers Dictionary. Along with language and literature, our present-day curriculum of English pays great attention to what might be called background studies – history, society and culture of English-speaking countries. Although such subjects were not taught systematically in the period under discussion, a few courses were delivered now and then, particularly by professors of history. English history was taught by Dr Carl Rathlef, ordinary professor of general history, in 1864. In 1865, he lectured on English history under the Tudors and Stuarts. In 1897, A. N. Yasinsky, extraordinary professor of general history, delivered a course on English history in the Middle Ages. In the following year, 1898, he lectured on the history of England and France at the end of the Middle Ages. In 1907, A. N. Yasinsky, by that time ordinary professor of general history, lectured on English history in the 12th–14th centuries. In 1910, Dr A. A. Vasilyev, ordinary professor of general history, taught English history in the 17th century. In the following year, 1911, he conducted practical exercises on Thomas More’s Utopia. In 1914, Y. V. Tarle, extraordinary professor of general history, delivered a special course of English history in the 16th–18th centuries. In the first semester of 1915, he lectured on modern history of England. In the second semester of 1915 and the first semester of 1916, he taught a special course on English history in the 18th–19th centuries. In 1858, Dr Carl Schirren, regular (etatmässiger) Privatdocent and senior teacher at Tartu Gymnasium, lectured on the history of the United States. As a large part of the territory of the present-day United States used to be colonised by Spain, the course on Spanish conquests in America delivered by Dr O. L. Waltz, ordinary professor of general history, in 1897 is also worth mentioning. Lecturer of English John Dede taught general statistics of the European countries and the United States of America in 1853. 30
Dr Eberland Friedländer, ordinary professor of cameralistics (the science of public finance), financial and commercial economics, lectured on domestic administration of England, France and Prussia in 1854. In 1867, Dr Adolph Wagner, ordinary professor of geography, ethnography and statistics taught trade policy and history of English free trade and recent trade agreements. In a few cases, courses were delivered on the historical development of the English language. In 1883, Dr Leo Meyer, ordinary professor of comparative linguistics, explained Beowulf and provided a grammatical overview of Anglo-Saxon. A brief episode in the history of the University of Tartu was the German Landesuniversität Dorpat, which operated from 15 September to 27 November 1918 during the German occupation of Estonia (Tamul 1997: 67). The plans for teaching English, however, seemed to have been grander than at the university of Tsarist Russia. Eduard Eckhardt was meant to teach an introduction to English philology, present-day English phonetics (with exercises), an introduction to Anglo-Saxon, and to explain Shakespeare’s Henry IV (with a general introduction to Shakespeare). Von Siebold would have taught an English conversation course for beginners and a course on English romanticism with exercises for advanced learners. REFERENCES Anvelt, Ilmar. 2018. Benjamin Beresford – the first English lecturer at the University of Tartu. Open! 53, 9–12. Levitsky. 1903. Бioграфическiй словарь профессоровъ и преподавателей Императорскаго Юрьевскаго, бывшаго Дерптскаго, университета за сто лѣт его существованiя (1802– 1902). Томъ II. Подъ редакцiей Г. В. Левитскаго. http://dspace.ut.ee/handle/10062/17434. Accessed 4 September 2018. Obozrenie. 1900–1918. Обозренiе лекцiй въ императорскомъ Юрьевскомъ университете 1900– 1918. http://dspace.ut.ee/handle/10062/203. Accessed 4 September 2018. Sheldon, Esther K. 1947. Walker’s Influence on the Pronunciation of English. PMLA, Vol. 62, No. 1, 130–146. Shelley, Philip Allison. 1936. Benjamin Beresford, Literary Ambassador. PMLA, Vol. 51, No. 2, (Jun 1936), pp. 476–501. https://www.jstor.org/stable/458066?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. Accessed 18 March 2018. Tamul, Sirje. 1997. Landesuniversität Tartus 1918. aastal. Tartu Ülikooli ajaloo küsimusi XXIX. Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus. Ued prohwesserid. 1865. Eesti Postimees ehk Näddalaleht, 35, 1 September. Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen an der Kaiserlichen Universität Dorpat. 1802–1820. http://dspace.ut.ee/ handle/10062/369. Accessed 4 September 2018. Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen an der Kaiserlichen Universität Dorpat. 1821–1850. http://dspace.ut.ee/ handle/10062/370. Accessed 4 September 2018. Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen an der Kaiserlichen Universität Dorpat. 1851–1870. http://dspace.ut.ee/ handle/10062/93. Accessed 4 September 2018. Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen an der Kaiserlichen Universität Dorpat. 1871–1890. http://dspace.ut.ee/ handle/10062/94. Accessed 4 September 2018. Verzeichnis der Vorlesungen an der Kaiserlichen Universität Dorpat. 1891–1900. http://dspace.ut.ee/ handle/10062/371. Accessed 4 September 2018.
American Teachers in Estonia MYSELF AS AN ELF IN ESTONIA AND ELSEWHERE Allison Pickering
ELF in Narva, 2017/2018
I’ll clarify right away. I am not a mythological, magical creature with pointy ears and a mischievous sense of humor. Well, maybe a bit of the latter, but definitely NOT the former. The tops of my ears are nicely rounded, thank you. ELF is the acronym for English Language Fellow, a position as an independent contractor with the United States Department of State. I was given the honor of being selected as a Fellow and posted to Narva, Estonia, for the 2017/2018 school year. This is my story of that adventure. The year I was an ELF, 2017/2018, there were 140 ELFs in 72 countries, give or take. Every year the duties, roles, and experiences are different for each Fellow. Some complete their year with a great sense of accomplishment, elated that they have made a positive difference in their communities; others return frustrated that they have not been able to do what they had hoped. Regardless, to a one, Fellows return knowing more about themselves and the world. Allison in St Petersburg
My adventure began in October of 2016 when I decided to submit an application to the US Department of State English Language Programs administered through Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The application is a beast as applications go, and I had not completed an application for employment in 14 years. But, I managed to respond to the prompts, order and gather transcripts, and convince a couple of colleagues to write me recommendations. I pressed the final Submit button the day of the November deadline. While I waited for a response, I mulled over my decision to apply. I would have to retire from a job I loved. As assistant principal at Escondido Adult School in California, I mostly did what I loved to do—train and coach ESL teachers. Before moving into administration, I had been an ESL teacher for thirty years and had received excellent training from master teachers, brilliant women who loved what they did. Over the years, I was also given the opportunity to attend professional conferences where, first, I learned more about being a good language teacher, and later presented and taught what that means. The most important lesson impressed upon me was the idea of continuous improvement. I decided: 1. I loved teaching English and English language teachers. This opportunity would allow me to spread the ESL love and stretch me as a person and an instructional leader. And, 2. As a person nearing retirement age, it was now or never to begin such an adventure. In January 2017 I received a letter informing me that I had been matched to a project in Narva, Estonia. Estonia! Because I have a lot of geography and history coursework in my background, I knew where Estonia was and that it used to be part of the Soviet bloc. First stop, Wikipedia! There I was able to become a little better informed. I admit, the information that gave me pause was on the climate—specifically, the winters. As a Southern California girl, born and raised, I had 32
Three ELFs in Ukraine (Allison, Joey Fordyce and Luis Perea)
to question my desire and ability to withstand such an extreme change in climate. After some thought (Lots of people do it! All over the world! There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing!), I decided, of course, that I could do it. It was only for one winter after all. It would be a new experience and that was what the whole plan was about. Other information that fascinated me more than the weather was that Estonia was a global leader in integration of technology, and that Christianity came late to the Estonian people (perhaps because of the climate?) and consequently people may be more eager to spend their Sundays in the woods than in a church. Works for me, pagan that I am. If there is a god force, I believe she/he/ it is within each of us and the natural world. So, score two for the Estonians. The program that I was to work with as my primary location was the large, public vocational school in IdaVirumaa county. Consisting of three campuses in three communities—Narva, Sillamäe, and Jõhvi—the Ida-Virumaa Kutsehariduskeskus (IVKHK) serves nearly 3000 students providing excellent vocational training in culinary arts, mechatronics, warehousing, floral design, hair, web design, welding, tourism, and more. It is a model I would like to see the USA adopt. While we have some of the best universities in the world, our offerings for young people who are not interested in college leave something to be desired. But, I have worked with vocational education and believe it in strongly. Perhaps I could learn something to bring home. After a couple of Skype (thank you Estonia!) interviews, the match was confirmed, and I began serious planning. I needed to find someone who would live in my home and take care of my animals—two small dogs and an old cat. I spread the word among friends and neighbors. Long story short, I found a young woman who was the coworker of a neighbor. She claimed to love animals and would be thrilled to live in my condo for greatly reduced rent in exchange for caring for my pets and plants. She told me she was married to a soldier who was going to be deployed during that time. I told her that that fact made me feel better about her youth because I know military wives are very responsible and know how to handle what life ELF Grace Lieu (Moldova) and Allison in Odessa throws them. Unfortunately, all of that was a lie and I had to return home in February to evict her and find a replacement. In this case, second time was a charm and the young man who took over as house and dog sitter worked out well. But, back to the good parts . . . In late July all the new and some former fellows along with staff of Georgetown and the State Department gathered in Washington, D. C. for five days of orientation. It was a joy to meet so many enthusiastic people—young, middle aged, older, black, white, brown, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist—who reflect what they love about America and who were eager to embrace adventure and share their expertise. There were sessions on staying healthy, communicating with our host agency and the embassy, completing paperwork, finances, using social media and more. It was five days of cramming information but also included a little time for sightseeing in that magnificent city that represents the ideals Americans hold dear. I was scheduled to be the first Fellow to leave, so within a week of my return to San Diego I received my ticket. A flurry of packing, unpacking, repacking, repeat began. I wrote notes for my house sitter and convinced my family that I really did want to do this. My son told me I was more of a teenager than he is (he was 30 at the time). I was scheduled to start work on August 20 at the EATE conference in Pärnu. I knew I needed to arrive in country a couple of days early to adjust to the time change. Jet lag and I are not friends. I was very glad I did. August 18 the magnificent, amazing, wonderful Tiiu Vitsut met me at the airport along with Jen MacArthur, the Regional Officer at the time. It was blazing hot in San Diego when I left, so I was thrilled to feel the fresh 18°C air. 18°C, or 65°F, is about as cool as the days get in Southern California in winter. I was NOT complaining. The extra two days also gave me time to become familiar with Tallinn. I 33
walked along the bay, explored Old Towne, visited the Presidential Palace and the museums. I hopped trams and busses reveling in the excellent public transit—a public service lacking in my home town. I discovered Rimi and the mall. I watched The Singing Revolution and learned more about my home for the next 10 months. My “grand debut” was two presentations at the EATE conference in Pärnu. Both sessions were filled to capacity as people turned out to meet the new kid in town. The nearly 50 participants all dove right in and participated. They were active and engaged. My presentations covered the two themes I expected to focus on and revisit many times. Both Lesson Planning with the WIPPEA Format and Guided to Communicative Practice zero in on the skills students need to become fluent in English. After the sessions several people came up to me to express their appreciation and to tell me that they had found the information valuable. Whew! That my first sessions were well received was a huge relief. The positive feedback bolstered my confidence Halloween at American space at Narva Library and made me think that the work I had before me would be of value to the teachers of English of Estonia and to the field of EFL. It was also at this conference that I met two of the IVKHK teachers, one of whom, Dimitri, would become the person I most saw as a friend. One thing I have learned in my 67 years of travel and living is that cultures vary in how eager and willing they are to invite someone into their homes or lives. While the Latin cultures and some others welcome a stranger with open arms, my experience in Estonia was that the people are more reserved and private. Dmitri was a muchappreciated exception. He was working on obtaining a permit to carry a gun and invited me several times to accompany him to shooting practice. I enjoy shooting but am very sensitive to the problems we have in the States with gun ownership being out of control. Dmitri had to pass a background check and take both a shooting test and a test of the laws. What a concept! And Dmitri provided some companionship for trips to the store and conversation. I very much appreciated his friendship. After the conference, Tiiu drove me, the former ELF Jesse Davey, and Jen the five hours from that southern resort town to Narva in the northeastern corner of the country and right on the Russian border. They deposited me in my apartment, a tiny but adequate Stalinka in a near perfect location in the center of town. I set about making my living quarters my own and getting to know my new neighborhood. I discovered Jysk, found a mini Rimi and a post office right outside my building, and delighted that although there is a good bus system, I could walk anywhere in town I wanted to go. School started a couple of weeks later. I looked out my window that morning and saw Christmas with former ELF Jesse Davie and family the children dressed for school and carrying bouquets of flowers. Over the course of the next two weeks I visited the classrooms of all seven teachers I would be working with. First impressions: In most classes, many students were on their phones and not paying attention; and there was more Russian than English being spoken. Both of these issues are serious, and they are issues under teacher control. The methods I planned to share require that the students be engaged. Phones can be a problem wherever you go. I heard teachers voice that fact in all parts of Estonia, in Hungary, Ukraine, 34
and Moldova, and I know it to be a problem in the US. However, it is not an intractable problem. It is a matter of the teacher having a policy and a plan and enforcing them both. One of the IVKHK teachers had virtually no problem with the students having their phones out at inappropriate times. She laid down the rule at the start of class and enforced it. Yes, phone computers can be a useful tool in the classroom when used judiciously, i.e., when there is strict control over their use. The use of the native language was the bigger problem. There was way too much translation and explanation in Russian. Teachers of English for vocational courses have a very tough row to hoe. They are charged with getting students up to speed in the English they need to succeed in their chosen vocation. Most have massive amounts of technical vocabulary to teach. But, generally, the students arriving in their classrooms are not ready for the English of their chosen field. Most still need basic English. The vocabulary and skills needed for communication on the job are more appropriately taught in intermediate levels. Additionally, the classes contained a wide range of ability. Students who never studied English were in with those who were nearly fluent. Seeing the demands put upon the teachers changed one rule I had. I was raised in the school of thought of “all English all the time”. Although I did not adhere strictly to that rule, I strived for it. I did know that sometimes a quick translation could solve a problem instantly. I also knew that translation is a slippery slope—once you get started, it’s hard to stop. That said, given the challenges mentioned above, I came to the conclusion that a one-time translation of vocabulary would be beneficial, followed by ample guided and communicative practice. Scheduling classroom visits and training time was difficult. Nearly three months passed before we were finally able to set a regular time at each site for training sessions. Prior to that, I gave detailed debriefs of the classes I observed and tried to introduce some of the theory and methodology. Needless to say, some teachers were more interested than others. There are people who are always eager to learn new things and improve their skills, and there are others that are uncomfortable with self-reflection and certainly don’t appreciate an outsider coming in to teach them something. That’s OK. While not all the teachers embraced what I had to offer, enough did. I also had the opportunity to present at several conferences and training days. I enjoy presenting when At work with teachers the participants obviously appreciate the information I have to share. I can honestly say that every time I presented in Estonia and the other countries I received enough enthusiastic, positive feedback to know my time was well spent. The underlying theme of my presentations and coaching was incorporating guided practice. When communicative teaching took the language learning world by storm, guided practice fell by the wayside. Nowadays, all teachers are trained on communicative, interactive lesson planning. What often gets short shrift in teacher training is the guided practice component. Guided practice, which includes old-fashioned drills and dialogues at lower levels, is an important step in language learning. Repetition and practice offer students a chance to develop confidence and work muscles in a new way. It prepares students to be successful with communicative practice and out in the real world. Neither approach alone works well; but combined they are powerful. I was happy to be able to show teachers how well-structured lesson plans that include both guided and communicative practice make language learning easier for students. One of the great perks of my time as a Fellow was the opportunity for travel. Over the course of ten months I, of course, saw a lot of Estonia. My favorite Estonian spots were the islands of Kihnu and Saaremaa. Perhaps they rank so highly in my list of favorites because I love the story of Kihnu and the weather was glorious that weekend in May that Jill Fredenburg, a Fulbright English teaching assistant also based in Narva, and I found our way there. We had a great time riding bikes around Kihnu and wandering Saaremaa. I also got to visit St. Petersburg and see bits of the Nordic countries at Christmas 35
time. Quick trips to Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, and Iceland only gave a taste of what these areas have to offer, but they helped slake my thirst for travel. As the end of my fellowship approached, I was acutely aware that I needed more time. I had not accomplished what I had hoped to. I felt there was more I could do to help the teachers prepare their students. But, I took heart when I saw fewer students’ eyes diverted to their phones and heard less of their native language in the classroom. A number of teachers outside of Ida-Virumaa county had emailed me to tell me how much they appreciated what I had taught them, that it had changed how they teach, and that they believed their students were learning more quickly because of it. I returned to San Diego one happy ELF.
MEET THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2018–2019 ENGLISH LANGUAGE FELLOW INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHY
On behalf of the English Language Fellowship Program, I am excited to be the Academic Year (AY) 2018–2019 English Language Fellow in Estonia. Please allow me to introduce myself and share the goals of our program. I am Dr. Andre’ L. Boyer, please feel free to call me Andre. Prior to being in the AY 2018–2019 Fellow Program in Estonia, I served as a Peace Response Volunteer in Georgia working with the English Teachers’ Association of Georgia from 2017–2018 and co-teaching undergraduate and graduate content level classes at Tibilisi State University. Before that, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the People’s Republic of China from 2015–2017 teaching undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students at Southwest Petroleum University. From 2004–2015, I was the Full-Time Faculty with University of Phoenix, Asia-Pacific Military Campus in Japan, teaching in the MBA program, and I served as the Regional Training Manager and Community Liaison, and Associate Faculty in the School of Advanced Studies as a dissertation chair and committee member. I also served in the United States Marine Corps for 22 years and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer-3 working in Aviation Logistics and Financial Management. I have a B.S. in Sociology, a M.S. in Management, a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and an Ed.D. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I worked in business and education and held various positions in both fields, lived overseas in many places and across the United States and traveled to around 25 different countries. I have an eclectic assortment of special interests from finance, including budgeting and accounting, HIV/AIDS education, online teaching and learning, work-life balance, leadership and management, human resource management, and strategic planning. In my spare time, I enjoy playing ping-pong, watching movies, and traveling. The English Language Fellowship program is designed for Fellows to work with local teachers, students, 36
and education professionals to improve English language teaching capacity. In particular in Estonia, our projects focus on critical thinking, medial literacy, and building social cohesion for resilient communities. Therefore, as a Fellow, I will be assigned to teach at Narva College with a plan to conduct teacher training workshops, conferences, talks, and seminars around the country. Please reach out and let me know how we could help with the advancement of your professional development and community resiliency. I can be reached at email@example.com or 5902 8158. We are looking forward to an exciting and rewarding academic year and beyond! Andre with young people of Narva
MEET OUR ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANTS
Dear Estonian Association of Teachers of English, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new English Teaching Assistants, who will live in Estonia for this school year. They are all excited to live in Estonia and work with you. If you are interested in contacting them, please contact the U.S. Embassy at RELOTallinn@state.gov. Best, Kelli Odhuu Regional English Language Officer U.S. Embassy Tallinn
Hi, my name is Lauren and I am originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania â€“ the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. I am a Fulbright ETA and I will work with Vita Tiim in Narva. I studied neuroscience in university and plan on attending medical school when I return from Estonia. I am passionate about science education and giving students the opportunity to explore hands-on science! In addition to science and medicine, I love to hike, swim, read good books, and explore nature. I also love to dance! I have traveled to many different countries and love exploring new cities.
Lauren Callans 37
Maddie Williamson is a Fulbright ETA who will work at American Space in Narva. She is from a small island town called Friday Harbor, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. She recently graduated with a Bachelorâ€™s of Science in Accounting from Arizona State University. Along with interests in business and technology, she loves reading, hiking, volleyball, and baking. She is very much looking forward to her time in Estonia and the opportunity to connect with the community.
Hello, my name is Emma Peterson and I will be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Valga. I am 22 and am originally from the state of California in the United States. I have been working with adults and children for years as a swimming instructor, an assistant coach for rugby camps, a tutor, and a teacher of the Tunica language. I spend most of my free time either absorbed by a good book while drinking a good cup of coffee or trying to learn a new language, also with a cup of coffee! I also love to play rugby, listen to podcasts, and explore the outdoors. I look forward to coming to Estonia!
Alisa Redding is a Fulbright ETA who will work in Tallinn. She is fluent in Russian and Finnish. Her Bachelorâ€™s degree is in Environmental Studies and Russian Studies from Rhodes College. She hopes to expand her international connections and focus on environmental issues that affect Finland, Estonia, and Russia.
Experienced Educator OUR NATIONAL EXAMINER AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTEL KRIISA
What does your work at Innove entail? I am in charge of the national exam in English, which means lots of collaboration meetings and lots of paperwork, but it also means making presentations at conferences both in Estonia and abroad, organising training sessions for teachers, item writers and assessors, taking part in international projects and sometimes visiting schools to start innovative projects. I also coordinate a large-scale project which involves developing computer-based tests in foreign languages. How does putting together an exam happen? Once I told an acquaintance of mine that my job is to put together the national exam in English. She was surprised and asked me what I did the rest of the 11 months when there was no English exam taking place! Actually, test production is a rather long and complicated process which means that certain standards must be followed. The process consists of several stages which follow each other successively because the output from one stage is required for another to start. A little like a factory production line. Every year, we construct two versions of the Y12 exam paper and it takes about 11 months to produce two new versions. The cycle usually starts in June. We look back on the previous exams and analyse their content and results. Also, we have to get a significant amount of paperwork done â€“ update test and item specifications and plan the budget. I commission exam tasks for the new exam from a team of item writers in June and they submit their tasks in October. A team of experts analyses the tasks and I send the item writers feedback and they edit the tasks. All items are pretested or trialled in January and February and statistical or qualitative analysis is carried out to find out how well the options or prompts work, how hard the items are, whether the test is at the right level and so on. We also have a panel of experts who link the items to the CEFR. The final versions are put together in March and we ask two English mother tongue speakers to proofread all the exam materials before the papers are sent to the graphic designer. What do you like most about your job? I like the fact that my job requires me to be very versatile and it poses many challenges. I also enjoy taking part in international projects and attending conferences abroad, as I believe that instead of reinventing the wheel itâ€™s smarter when we learn from the successes and failures of others. Compare your working experience at school and at Innove.
I worked as a teacher for 12 years and it is now my 7th year at Innove. There are many similarities between the two. Both jobs are closely related to the English language, both follow a cyclical pattern and require good collaboration skills. Both involve doing some paperwork, however, there is definitely more complexity at Innove. As a teacher, I worked with young people and had to follow a strict timetable every day. I also used to bring work home. At Innove, I mostly collaborate with teachers, my colleagues and people from the Ministry of Education. I can plan my own schedule and make it more flexible, but I also tend to bring work home at busier times. The biggest difference between the two jobs is probably the extent of responsibility. As a teacher, my work influenced hundreds of people. At Innove, it can influence thousands. In both cases, I like to think that I make a positive difference to young peopleâ€™s lives. Why did you choose to study English? I was born in Soviet Estonia and grew up in a small village called Varbola. I remember that when I was 6 or 7, my parents started taking evening classes in English. I studied their notebooks and the handouts that their English teacher had given them. That was probably when I became fascinated by foreign countries and their culture, especially the UK and the USA. Although I thought I would never have the chance to travel to those countries, I wanted to learn this mysterious and beautiful foreign language. When I graduated from upper-secondary school and it was time to decide what to study next, becoming a teacher of English seemed to be a good idea because I wanted to master the language and follow in the footsteps of some of the very inspiring teachers I had had at school. What are you studying now? I am doing an MSc in educational technology at Tallinn University. I am interested in technology-based language assessment and my thesis paper will be on the same topic. What should be done to make students more interested in learning foreign languages? As far as learning English is concerned, I think we have no reason to be overly worried about the situation. Most young people today are aware that English is the language of business, science, tourism, the media industry and the Internet, and their intrinsic motivation for learning English is rather high. English is also easier to learn here in Estonia because young people have a lot of exposure to the language. When it comes to learning other languages, the situation is different. There is less exposure and lower motivation for learning. My experience shows that having more international projects might help as well as the use of technology and more modern teaching methods. What do you think are the biggest challenges the educational system in Estonia is facing today? There are not enough teachers because the teaching profession is not attractive in Estonia. It is often not perceived as being a prestigious or well-paid job like in many other countries, so young people do not want to become teachers. Another challenge is integrating the use of technology into teaching and learning. It is even said that technology in education is the biggest change in teaching we will ever see. Making big changes in education, however, takes a lot of time and requires careful consideration and patience. We can definitely benefit from the use of technology; however, this does not just mean having the latest technology and the most expensive gadgets. It should be all about the learning process and how to transform it in a way that is beneficial and sustainable. What, if at all, will change in testing English (national exams) in 10 yearsâ€™ time in Estonia? I have a feeling that more and more students will reach C1 or C2 in English. More students will be taking international English proficiency exams, and I also think that computer-based tests will have replaced paper-based tests.
What three pieces of advice would you give teachers to help them prepare their students to pass an English exam successfully? Motivate your students. Their first and foremost goal should be to excel in English, so try to increase their interest in English, help them set their own goals and give them as much feedback on their progress as you can. When they are good at English, they will also pass the exam with flying colours. Let your students take past versions of the exam. This will help them get familiar with the question types, find out about their strengths and weaknesses and see how much time they can spend on each section of the test. It takes away some of the stress. When preparing your students for the writing paper, teach them functional reading skills. Before they start writing, they should have a clear understanding of who the recipient is, why they are writing to this person and what exactly they should write about. What do you do to unwind? I try to forget work and spend time with my loved ones. I also enjoy travelling. Every now and then, I try to travel abroad to get away from everything, see new places and relax. I also like to read and one of my hobbies has always been creative writing. Kristel Kriisa was interviewed by EATE Committee members.
Reading Recommendations THE JOYS AND THREATS OF STUDYING ABROAD Ilmar Anvelt
Editor of OPEN!
Jane Jackson, Interculturality in International Education. New York: Routledge, 2018. An increasing number of students, from both schools and universities, are studying abroad; therefore, it might be useful for teachers to think about how to deal with foreign students they have to teach or how to advise their students who are going abroad. The author Jane Jackson is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the English Department at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She teaches intercultural communication or transition courses, including an online course for students studying abroad. She got the idea for the book from discussions with her PhD students in Hong Kong. The book may seem too abstract or theorising for reading in whole, but Iâ€™d like to share a few ideas that might be useful for us as foreign language teachers. One of the chapters is co-authored with Fred Dervin from the University of Helsinki.
The term that the author frequently uses for a stay abroad is ‘sojourn’1 and, thus, ‘sojourner’ for a person who is studying abroad or temporarily staying abroad for some other purposes. Sojourners experience a new linguistic physical and social environment, are confronted with unusual worldviews and behaviours. In 1950, anthropologist Cora DuBois coined the term ‘culture shock’ that she used about anthropologists who enter a new culture during their field work (p. 44). Later, it has become to be used about any individuals who have difficulties in adjusting to the new culture. Recently, however, critics, e.g. Coleen Ward, have found that the term ‘culture shock’, although still widely used, overemphasises the negative aspects of novel situations and ignores the positive experience (p. 45). Perhaps, we as speakers of Estonian also tend to use the word ‘shock’ more seldom than speakers of English. The author describes the models of culture shock and adjustment (p. 53 ff.). It is usual that, when arriving, sojourners experience initial euphoria or a so-called honeymoon phase – they take delight in the new sights, sounds and smells. The second phase is often called the ‘culture shock’, ‘crisis stage’ or ‘disintegration’, as excitement may be replaced by disappointment and frustration. Sojourners may discover that their language skills are not as good as they had imagined; they may have trouble in communicating with people from the host culture, particularly in informal situations where colloquialisms and humour are often used. When the classes start, they discover that the culture of learning at a foreign school or university may differ from what they are used to or have expected. The author calls the third stage the ‘humorous stage’; it has also been named the ‘reorientation and reintegration phase’ or ‘adjustment and recovery’. Students realise that many problems are due to cultural differences or language problems, not deliberate attempts by locals to annoy them. They start forming friendships with other international students and local students as well. The following is the ‘at home’ stage or ‘adaptation’ or ‘resolution’ where sojourners feel more relaxed, are better able to communicate in the foreign language, may actively participate in activities and develop a circle of friends they can confide in. While difficulties in adjusting to the foreign environment seem to be self-evident, it is not so well known that people may also experience the same kind of ups and downs after returning home (p. 57–58). This process has been called ‘re-entry’ or ‘reverse culture shock’. Returnees may experience disorientation, surprise and confusion. This can be caused by several reasons, e.g. appreciation of the foreign country’s customs or values, idealised images of the home country formed while being abroad. This shock can sometimes be even more severe than adjusting to the foreign country because it is unexpected. Students may miss the more independent lifestyle and the friends they made abroad; they may long for the life they had during the sojourn and look at it through rose-coloured glasses; they may have a lot of complaints about their home culture. Some people may feel that they are caught between two distinct worlds and do not fit into either. This is followed by the resocialisation stage when returnees start to re-adjust to their home country and feel that they have changed for the better due to their international and intercultural experience. It is natural that not all people experience the trajectories depicted in these models. Some sojourners endure significant ups and downs while abroad, whereas others do not. In my opinion, this may also depend on how different or similar the foreign country is to your homeland, or how much information you have about it beforehand. One characteristic that we as foreign language teachers can help to develop in our students is willingness to communicate (p. 97–98). When speaking a foreign language, people may feel language anxiety – a feeling of tension and apprehension specifically associated with L2 contexts. The level of language anxiety may depend on previous language learning experiences – negative experiences may lead to a heightened level of anxiety and reduce a person’s willingness to communicate in that language. On Sojourn formal – a short period of time that you stay in a place that is not your home (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English).
the opposite, positive previous experiences enhance an individual’s willingness to communicate and to build multicultural relationships. Overall, positive but realistic expectations can be conducive to a positive sojourn experience. Students with a negative mindset (or with parents who question their children’s ability to cope abroad) may have heightened stress and greater difficulties in adjustment. These were just a few of the themes the author discusses in her book. Some others include readiness for intercultural communication, translanguaging (the constant, active envisioning of new realities through social action and the use of a second language), global citizenship, the relation between language and identity in intercultural communication, environmental factors and individual differences that can lead to profound differences in sojourn learning, etc.
A BOOK OF FICTION TO READ Erika Puusemp
MHG, EATE, DKG
In her presentation in Pärnu this summer, Evi Saluveer included lists of books to read that feature characters with special needs, and after having read several of these, I would like to suggest that many more people read Jem Lester’s shtum. (Orion Books, 2017, 325 pages). It’s a novel written by a journalist, based on his own real-life experience of fighting to get his severely autistic son into a school with an environment as supportive for the boy’s development as possible. The narrator of this novel, Ben Jewell, has hit an emotional breaking point because both he and his wife Emma are extremely distraught and exhausted, having been on the receiving end of all the shit (both literally and figuratively; pardon my language) that caring for a severely autistic child can mean. Ten-year-old Jonah is a beautiful boy who has never spoken, is not toilettrained, and can throw a tantrum at any moment of the day and/or night. Since his 11th birthday is coming up soon, he needs to change schools, and since in spite of a pretty supportive environment at his elementary school, Jonah has not made a lot of progress developmentally, his parents decide they have to get him into a local-government-supported school that would provide him with the care he needs and allow his parents to get back their lives and go to work and thus provide better for Jonah while he is with them. Obviously, the other players in the conundrum mostly have a different take on this, something that would be considerably cheaper for the government but less conducive of Jonah’s development. Struggling to cope, Ben and Emma ill-advisedly fake a separation in the hopes that the tribunal would make a favourable decision that would allow Jonah a slightly better future. In his attempt to manage his own problems and single fatherhood, Ben moves himself and Jonah in with his own father, who has his own quirks and is, on top of everything, suffering from an extremely malignant form of cancer. The novel is mostly about how these three men, thrown together by fate into a small house, survive in a situation when one cannot and the others won’t talk about important issues like family history that includes being a Jew on the run from the Nazis during World War II and failed 43
marriages and addiction and the hell parents of disabled children have to go through when they have decided to fight for a better education and a future for their child other than being a burden on their loving parents. Although some critics label this novel as hilariously funny, I wouldn’t really say it’s that. What it is, though, is a profound look at what happens in the lives and minds and relationships of people confronted with impossible choices and a battle there seems no way they could win. It both entertains and educates the reader and should probably be a compulsory read for anybody who has to, at any point in their lives, function as a carer or a psychologist for anybody in need. To sum up, a couple of quotes to give you the feel of it: “I began to talk to myself, just to check that I still had the power to talk. Solitude does that to a person.” “Words become meaningless if you don’t tell your truth and they become weapons if you try to tell someone else’s truth.”
How well do you know Perth, Scotland? (answers on p. 18) Photos by Erika Jeret 1
EATE SUMMER SEMINAR, PÄRNU, 22-23 AUGUST 2018
Listening with interest
Ursula Roosmaa from the British Council with guest speaker Nikky Smedley
Allecto bookstore celebrated its 25th anniversary with a cake
Ülle Türk and our official photographer Reet Noorlaid
Tery Lemanis spoke on a variety of topics
Dialoog team of booksellers
Photos by Reet Noorlaid