EATE Estonian Association of Teachers of English
The EATE Journal Issue No. 42 October 2012 FIRST EUROPEAN SURVEY ON LANGUAGE COMPETENCES (ESLC) AND SOME OF ITS FINDINGS Kristi Mere
WHAT IS A WEBQUEST AND WHAT ARE ESTONIAN EFL TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF IT? Kristel Kook-Aljas
ARE THEY READY FOR GROWN-UP LIFE? Erika Puusemp
A FEW FALSE FRIENDS OF THE TRANSLATOR (V) Ilmar Anvelt
DO YOU VOLUNTEER? Erika Jeret
MY ’CANADIA’ OR TEACHING MYSELF TO LIVE Helin Haga
PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO SEE: SOME NEW PARKS IN NEW YORK CITY Julia Hirsch
FÁILTE GO HÉIREANN! Danica Kubi
REPORT: MY MANCHESTER IN A NUTSHELL Merike Kaus
Teachers’ Teacher KRISTA VOGELBERG AS TEACHERS’ TEACHER
Reading Recommendations MY ENGLAND LIKE A PIECE OF PATCHWORK Aet Sarv
A FRESH GUST OF WIND Juta Hennoste
Come and Share 5C PROGRAM FOR THE YEAR – COOL DOWN, CARE, BE CREATIVE, COMMUNICATE, COOPERATE Margit Timakov
EATE SUMMER SEMINAR PĂ„RNU, 22â€“23 AUGUST 2012
Migle Ogorodnikoviene (Lithuania) preparing for her presentation
Listening to speakers is fun
Photos by Reet Noorlaid
Our new Committee member Katrin Saks sorting materials for the Summer Seminar
Meeri Sild spoke about using mobile devices in language classes
Estonian Association of Teachers of English www.eate.ee Chair
Editor of OPEN!
Phone 5212 347
Phone 7375 218
Nora Toots never fails to come to our events
Urve L채채nemets discussed what makes a good teacher
Congratulations to Piret K채rtner on her new job at the Ministry of Education and Research
Marika Reiko taught cartoon-making
The presenter has said something really exciting Enn Veldi just arrived in P채rnu to speak about conversion
FIRST EUROPEAN SURVEY ON LANGUAGE COMPETENCES (ESLC) AND SOME OF ITS FINDINGS Kristi Mere
National Research Coordinator
The European Survey on Language Competences (ESLC) is the first survey of its kind. It was designed 1) to collect information about the foreign language proficiency of students in the last year of lower secondary education (ISCED2) or the second year of upper secondary education (ISCED3) (UNESCO 1997) in participating countries or country communities (“adjudicated entities”). 2) to assist the European Commission in establishing a European Indicator of Language Competence to monitor progress against the March 2002 Barcelona European Council conclusions, which called for ‘action to improve the mastery of basic skills, in particular by teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age’ and also for the ‘establishment of a linguistic competence indicator’ (European Commission 2005)1. The ESLC was a collaborative effort among the 16 participating adjudicated entities (Belgium’s three linguistic communities (Flemish, German and French) participated separately, which gave a total of 16 “adjudicated entities”) and SurveyLang partners (eight testing organisations over Europe). The decision to launch the ESLC ‘arose from the current lack of data on actual language skills of people in the European Union and the need for a reliable system to measure the progress achieved.’ The ESLC was therefore initiated by the Commission with the aim that ‘the results collected will enable the establishment of a European Indicator of Language Competence and will provide reliable information on language learning and on the language competences of young people’ (European Commission 2007a2) as well as providing ‘strategic information to policy makers, teachers and learners in all surveyed countries’ through the collection of contextual information in the background questionnaires (European Commission 2007b3). Each adjudicated entity tested students in two languages (so-called 1st and 2nd target languages) from among the five most widely taught European languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. This meant that there were two separate samples within each adjudicated entity, one for the first test language (1500 students), and one for the second (1500 students). Each sampled student was therefore tested in one language only. In Estonia English (first TL) and German (third TL) were the languages for the Survey. The ESLC sets out to assess students’ ability to use language purposefully, in order to understand spoken or written texts, or to express themselves in writing. Their observed language proficiency is described in terms of the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR, 2001), to enable comparison across participating adjudicated entities. The data collected by the ESLC will allow participating adjudicated entities to be aware of their students’ relative strengths and weaknesses across the tested language skills, and to share good practice with other participating adjudicated entities. Approximately 53,000 students enrolled in schools of the 16 participating adjudicated entities were assessed in the ESLC Main Study 2011. In general, the typical age of the students tested was 14 or European Commission. 2005. Commission Communication of 1 August 2005 – The European Indicator of Language Competence [COM(2005) 356 final – Not published in the Official Journal], retrieved 18 January 2012, from http://europa. eu/legislation_summaries/education_training_youth/lifelong_learning/c11083_en.htm 2 European Commission. 2007a. Communication from the Commission to the Council of 13 April 2007 entitled “Framework for the European survey on language competences” [COM (2007) 184 final – Not published in the Official Journal] 3 European Commission. 2007b. Terms of Reference: Tender no. 21 “European Survey on Language Competences”. Contracting Authority: European Commission. 1
15 (in Bulgaria it was 16 and in the Flemish and German Communities of Belgium the typical age of the first target language population was 13). For the majority of the students, the international grade in which they were enrolled at the time of the test was either grade 9 or grade 10. In Estonia the tests were administered in grade 9. For 84% of the Estonian students tested in English in the ESLC, English was the 1st foreign language learned. The language tests covered three language skills: Listening, Reading and Writing. Each student was assessed in two out of these three skills in one test language. Each student also completed a contextual questionnaire. Students were tested at one of the three overlapping levels A1 to B2 of the CEFR on the basis of a routing test. The principle of this kind of targeted testing was to administer the easy items (A1–A2) to the students of lower language proficiency, the items of medium difficulty (A2–B1) to the students of intermediate proficiency and the difficult items (B1–B2) to the students of the higher proficiency. The language tests measured the achievement of levels A1 to B2 of the CEFR. The pre-A1 level which was also reported indicated a failure to achieve A1. Language teachers and school principals at sampled schools also completed a contextual questionnaire. The ESLC was administered in both paper and computer-based formats. In Estonia the ESLC was administered in the computer-based format in 25 schools out of the total 148. The Teacher and Principal Questionnaires were administered through an Internet-based system. Results: language proficiency For both the 1st (English in 13 adjudicated entities) and the 2nd target languages (German in 8, French in 3, English in 2, Spanish in 2 entities, Italian in one entity) the levels of achievement varied widely across the adjudicated entities. In Listening, for example, the percentage of students achieving B level in the 1st TL ranged from 7% to 91%. This was not solely an adjudicated entity-level effect – for example, Sweden topped the table for Listening in the first TL (English) but came last in the second target language (Spanish). Nonetheless, there were adjudicated entities which seemed to be doing better or worse at languages generally. Three adjudicated entities appeared in the top half for both languages (Netherlands, Malta and Estonia). The significance of such differences should be evaluated carefully, taking into account the range of factors which make simple comparison of performance difficult. Figure 14: English Listening CEFR levels by adjudicated entity
Figure 2: English Reading CEFR levels by adjudicated entity
Figures 1, 2, 3 and 5: European Commission. First European Survey on Language Competences. Final Report
Figure 3: English Writing CEFR levels by adjudicated entity
Figure 45: English CEFR levels by skills (Listening, Reading and Writing), Estonian students
Some Findings: the contextual questionnaires Many of the factors contributing to foreign language competences are largely beyond the control of the adjudicated entities, such as their general demographic, social, economic and linguistic contexts. Other contextual factors can be modified through targeted educational policies, such as the age at which foreign language education starts, the intensity of foreign language courses, the initial and in-service training of teachers, etc. (1) The results of the ESLC show that an earlier onset is related to higher proficiency in the foreign language tested, as is learning a larger number of foreign languages and of ancient languages. Generally, students report a rather early start of foreign language learning (before or during primary education) and most commonly they learn two foreign languages. In Estonia teaching of both the first and the second foreign language (FL) starts during primary education (the 1st FL in grade 3 at the latest and the 2nd FL in grade 6 at the latest). The results of the Estonian students confirmed the first finding stated (1st FL vs 2nd FL), but the scores of the students who had started learning English from grade 3 turned out to be higher than the scores of the students who had started learning English from grade 1 or 2. Estonia is one of the four adjudicated entities where the mean number of modern foreign languages learned is 2.2 or more for both target language populations. Ancient languages are practically not learned in Estonia. (2) A positive relation is observed between proficiency in the tested language and the students’ perception of their parents’ knowledge of that language, and their exposure to and use of the tested language through traditional and new media. In general, the effect of parental target languages knowledge was positive for all adjudicated entities and languages. This effect was the strongest for Writing, followed by Listening and to a lesser extent for Reading. For Writing, the effects were sometimes substantial. Bulgarian, Spanish, Estonian (esp. the second target language – German) and Polish parents have a below-average knowledge of the target language. Considerable differences between adjudicated entities were found in the informal language learning opportunities through media (the use of dubbing or subtitles on television and in movies, and the stuFigures 4, 6, 7 and 9: Tartu Ülikooli sotsiaalteaduslike rakendusuuringute keskus RAKE. Euroopa keeleoskuse uuring 2011, inglise keele tulemuste analüüs.
dents’ exposure to the language through traditional and new media). The highest TL exposure through traditional and new media was found in Estonia, Malta, Slovenia and Sweden for the first TL (means greater than 2.5 on a scale from 0 to 4). Figure 5: Parents’ target language knowledge (mean)
This index is based on the question from the SQ: “How often do you come into contact with English through media in the following ways?” Students were asked to respond on a scale from ‘0=never‘ to ‘4=a few times a week‘ for nine sub-items. The index is the mean of the nine responses: 1) listen to songs in English; 2) watch movies spoken in English without subtitles; 3) watch movies spoken in English with subtitles; 4) watch TV programmes spoken in English without subtitles; 5) watch TV programmes spoken in English with subtitles; 6) play computer games spoken in English; 7) read books written in English; 8) read a magazine or a comic written in English; 9) visit websites written in English. Figure 6: Relation of frequency of visiting websites written in English with English language proficiency, Estonian students
(3) Students who find learning the language useful (for their private lives and for their working lives) tend to achieve higher levels of foreign language proficiency and students who find learning the language difficult lower levels of foreign language proficiency. 90% of the students learning English considered the language useful (for travelling, contact with foreigners, getting a good job, the use of computers and other technical devices, further education, future work and entertainment – movies, television programmes, music and games). 53% of the students of the Russian-medium schools learning English considered listening to spoken English difficult. (4) There is a strong negative effect of ICT use at home for foreign language learning on students' language test scores. The effect is equally strong for all three skills. 5
Figure 7: Relation of frequency of visiting websites written in English with English language proficiency, Estonian students
As this effect was the reverse of what was expected, further research would be needed to find out what the requirements are for ICT used for language learning so that its use would improve language learning. (5) Overall, most teachers are well qualified, are educated to a high level, have full certification and are specialised in teaching languages. In Estonia 57% of the teachers of English were fully qualified, 25% (28% of the teachers in the Estonianmedium schools and 14% in the Russian-medium schools) had completed requalification courses; 12% of the teachers (9% of the teachers in the Estonian-medium schools and 24% in the Russian-medium schools) had some other certificate and 6% of the teachers had no certificate. (6) A greater use of the foreign language in lessons by both teachers and students shows a positive relation with language proficiency. It is true for the majority of adjudicated entities, languages and skills; for Writing the effect is less marked than for Listening and Reading. Two frequently used methods by the Estonian teachers of English in their lessons are individual and group work. The data analysis showed that 56% of the students often had to work individually in their English lessons. 36% of the students in the Estonian medium-schools and 64% of the students in the Russian-medium schools often worked in heterogeneous groups, but when working in groups only 22% of the students always or usually spoke English. Furthermore, 4% of the teachers hardly ever used English when speaking to the whole class. (7) The effect of ‘Perceived emphasis on similarities between known languages’ is negative, which means that teachers’ pointing out similarities to students goes with lower scores on the language tests. This effect is equally strong for all the three skills. As this effect is the reverse of what was expected, further research would be needed to find out how similarities between languages should be emphasised in order to improve language learning. (8) English studies in the Russian-medium schools in Estonia mainly start earlier than in the Estonian-medium schools, but their students’ results in the ESLC tests are lower.
Figure 8: Start of English studies in Estonia (Student Questionnaire, SQ)
Figure 9: Relation of language of instruction (Russian/Estonian) with English language proficiency by skills (Writing, Listening and Reading), Estonian students
(9) The highest average number of different financial incentives for in-service training per school (payment of enrolment costs of training, payment of other training-related expenditure, paid leave during training with no loss of earnings and participating in training during working hours with a substitute teacher for the classes) is found in Slovenia, followed by the Flemish Community of Belgium, Bulgaria and Estonia. The number of different financial incentives for in-service training from school as reported by the principals (PQ) showed positive effects on average school scores in two thirds of the cases for Listening and the language aspect of Writing. (10) A school’s specialist language profile is observed most often in Estonia, Slovenia and the German Community of Belgium. This index is based on the question from the Principal Questionnaire: ‘Does your school offer the following to encourage language learning?’ Principals were asked to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to seven items, e.g. ‘A wider choice of languages is offered than is common or required’, ‘The classes for foreign language lessons are smaller than is common or required’, ‘More teaching hours are devoted to foreign language learning than is common or required’. (11) Considerable differences were found between adjudicated entities in the extent to which teachers have received training in the CEFR and use the CEFR. In Estonia more than 60% of the teachers of both TLs have received training. Generally, teachers did not use the CEFR very often. In Estonia both teachers of the first and second TL reported they use the CEFR “sometimes”, or slightly more. 7
(12) In all adjudicated entities least emphasis is placed on culture and literature in comparison to the other aspects of language learning (Writing, Speaking, Listening, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar and Pronunciation). Estonian teachers use web content (software or websites specifically designed for learning languages or online news media (TV, radio, newspapers) in TL or websites on life and culture in TL speaking countries) in their lessons more than it is done in the other entities. (13) In Estonia more than half of the teachers of both target languages had received some training in using a language portfolio. Teachers still need more training in the use of language portfolios, so they could teach their students to use it and evaluate their level of language proficiency and plan how to become a better foreign language learner. More information: http://uuringud.ekk.edu.ee/est/euroopa-keeleoskusuuring/2012-tulemused/ From January 1, 2011 the implementation of the project in Estonia is funded by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People from the programme Language Learning Development 2011-2013 financed through the European Social Fund.
WHAT IS A WEBQUEST AND WHAT ARE ESTONIAN EFL TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF IT? Kristel Kook-Aljas
The new Estonian National Curricula for basic and upper-secondary schools (came into force on 17 February 2011) state that modern-language teaching should be communicative and oriented to the needs of students. Teachers are to use different forms of active learning and the teacher is no longer seen as an intermediary of knowledge but as an advisor and partner. E-learning, which covers different forms of electronically supported learning and teaching, can be effectively used to accomplish all of the above. What is a WebQuest? Teachers constantly struggle with the question whether their lessons are interesting and the students are motivated. The lack of motivation may cause behavioural problems in the classroom and poor academic results. The constructivist approach and technology may help to invigorate teaching, foster students’ motivation and incorporate student-centred learning. One of the most widely available e-learning formats used all around the world is WebQuest that provides one specific format of using Internet resources, alongside other resources (Al-Bataineh et al 2000, Yoder 2005). Can (2009) believes that the Internet and the virtual learning environments have diversified the opportunities for schoolteachers and learners by diversifying and broadening the alternatives for learning and teaching of languages, and sees WebQuests as good examples of virtual learning tools. Bernie Dodge defines a WebQuest as follows: A WebQuest is built around an engaging and doable task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It’s about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis, or synthesis. The task has to be more than simply answering questions or regurgitating what’s on the screen. Ideally, the task is a scaled down version of something that adults do on the job, outside school walls. (Starr 2000)
The WebQuest, developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March in 1995, is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web (WebQuest.org 2007). The official site of WebQuest (WebQuest.org) claims that tens of thousands of teachers have embraced WebQuests as a way to make good use of the Internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires. A WebQuest is an Internet-based activity focusing on a central question, which is real and meaningful to the learners. Therefore, learning becomes situated in an authentic environment (Fiedler 2002, Simina and Hamel 2005), requiring higher-order thinking skills (creative, critical thinking, analysis, visualization, etc.) (Abbitt et al 2008). A high-quality WebQuest usually requires learners to transform information into something else, conduct research, compare and contrast, analyze a topic (Fiedler 2002, Skylar et al 2007). Moreover, Skylar (2007) claims that a WebQuest provides a structured environment, specific steps for compiling the task, a list of appropriate Web sites, and instructions for compiling data for the research project. In addition, learners are given the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned. The WebQuest should not be an isolated assignment unconnected to what is being learned or studied in the classroom (Skylar et al 2007). Al-Bataineh et al (2000:9) describe WebQuest as student-centred, motivating instruction where student makes a variety decisions about solving the problem. Samina and Hamel (2005:225) see WebQuests as a learning scaffold allowing different degrees of guidance through their design. Scaffolding tools may take the form of resource links, templates for student products, or guidance to develop cognitive skills (Fiedler 2002, Zheng et al 2008). Fiedler (2002) claims that online scaffolding strategies include visual cueing, separate pages offering instructions or describing useful processes, tutorials, help systems, advanced organizers, outlines, and flow charts. Furthermore, WebQuests enable inter-personal interaction and interaction with the learning material (Simina and Hamel 2005: 218). The focus is hence on both the social and cognitive aspects of learning, which are central in social constructivism. The WebQuest task usually involves group work, in which learners take on specific roles for its accomplishment, thus promoting cooperative and collaborative learning (AL-Bataineh et al 2000, Simina and Hamel 2005, Fiedler 2002). WebQuests foster positive interdependence with respect to learning goals, the learning tasks, assigned resources, interdependence of roles and rewards (Fiedler 2002). However, not all teachers use WebQuests effectively. Skylar et al (2007) believe that teachers often give students a task to research online without identifying the Web sites to complete the task, and therefore, tasks become too time-consuming. Distractions available on the Internet can be a serious concern. Halat (2008:110-1) claims that students may be distracted by other Web sites that they find more appealing; they may not want to work on the WebQuests if the tasks are too difficult or they do not like the scenario or the topics. Not all students cope the same way with the task. Thus, although WebQuests may include specific Web sites identified for an instructional activity, students with learning disabilities may still be confused by complex sentences, difficult vocabulary, and the organizational structure of a typical Web site (Skylar et al 2007). In addition, Foshay and Bergeron argue that simply putting content on a web page is not a guarantee of learning. They maintain that there is a big difference between information and instruction, and that the web may be a great way to distribute information, but this need not necessarily mean that one can teach with it (Zheng et al 2008). All the above mentioned problems are serious, but they also have a solution – careful planning by the teacher. First of all, a task to research online will not be so time-consuming if learning tasks are properly compiled and a list of Web sites to be used provided, for example as in WebQuests. Although teachers cannot guarantee students will not get distracted, they can create tasks that motivate students enough to stay focused. Teachers who use WebQuests ought to remember that they serve as guides, monitors and coaches and therefore check the students’ progress. Secondly, teachers who are familiar with the developmental stages of children know what children are capable of doing on their own and what with the support of the teacher; are aware of students’ weaknesses and talents, know their interests, are competent to assign interesting WebQuests tasks with a suitable degree of difficulty. We also need to remember that learning does not necessarily take place in a traditional classroom either – all depends on the teachers’ ability to engage students and to motivate them to learn. Thirdly, WebQuests enable to make learning enjoyable as they enable to use different technological devices preferred by students, are real and meaningful, and allow the students to decide how to solve the problem. Nowadays the aim of 9
education is not to teach our students everything; instead, teachers should provide the knowledge about how and where to find the information we are looking for, to think critically, to cooperate and collaborate in order to cope well in everyday life. WebQuests provide an easily used platform for developing these skills. Empirical Research The WebQuest as an instructional model has many features that make it ideally suitable for inclusion into the teaching/learning process required in the new Estonian National Curricula for basic and uppersecondary schools. The learner is to become the centre of learning and is no longer seen as a passive recipient of knowledge. The purpose of my research was therefore to identify whether Estonian EFL teachers assign internet-based activities, use WebQuest or not, and what attitudes they have towards it. Two instruments were used for the study: The Demographic Information Questionnaire and The WebQuest Questionnaire for EFL teachers in Estonia. Both questionnaires were created as online forms in the Google Docs environment. The empirical study was conducted from 3 January to 25 March 2012. A request to fill in the online questionnaire was sent to Estonian EFL teachers by e-mail. 149 teachers of English from the 15 counties of Estonia responded to the questionnaire. Research Findings The study showed that 87% of the respondents had assigned internet-based activities, but teachers still used them foremost for learning and practicing grammar, although the new National Curricula for basic and upper-secondary schools (Vabariigi Valitsus 2011a: 2, 2011b: 2) state that communicative competence should be the goal of language teaching. We may say that most Estonian EFL teachers have discovered pedagogical tools in E-learning that can improve many forms of learning, incorporating everything available on the Internet (texts, pictures, maps, graphics, videos, music, forums, etc). However, it is unclear to what extent the tools are used to encourage communication and collaborative learning. In What Forms have WebQuests been used? Understandably, WebQuests were used in basic and upper-secondary schools because WebQuest activities require some language comprehension (an adequate vocabulary). Therefore, teachers deserve credit for using WebQuests with form 5 (11.4%) and form 6 (22.9%). It shows that these teachers are aware of the benefits of collaboration and conversation among learners. The results revealed that teachers used WebQuests most of all in forms 9 (71.4%) and 8 (62.9%). Surprisingly, teachers used WebQuests more with form 7 (42.9%) than with forms in upper-secondary schools. Teachers used WebQuests less in form 12 (22.9%) probably because they have to prepare students for the English language national examination. Estonian EFL Teachersâ€™ Perceptions of WebQuests In order to understand better what Estonian EFL teachers think about WebQuests, they were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements. The study showed that teachers agreed with the statements that WebQuest is student-centred (65.7% agreed, 25.7% agreed strongly); that it is an inquiry-based teaching model (65.7% agreed, 22.9% agreed strongly) that it provides engaging educational experience for students (48.6% agreed, 40% agreed strongly), and motivates learning (60% agreed, 28.6% agreed strongly). 74.3% of the teachers agreed strongly and 20% agreed that WebQuests promote integration between different subjects. 68.5% agreed and 22.9% agreed strongly that WebQuestsâ€™ tasks elicit higher-order thinking. 45.7% of the teachers did not have an opinion whether, in WebQuest learning, learners are able to examine the problem from multiple perspectives, though 42.9 % agreed and 11.4% of the respondents agreed strongly. More than half of the teachers did not have an opinion about the statement that in WebQuest learning, learners develop the ability to challenge each othersâ€™ point of view. 40% had no opinion whether WebQuest learning facilitates learners to arrive at a conclusion by assembling different evidence through reasoning, while 42.9% agreed and 14.2% agreed strongly. 10
Over 80% of the teachers agreed that in WebQuests learners are able to propose a solution with more than one approach and solve the problem with more than one solution. More than 85% agreed that WebQuests enable learners to effectively use information to solve problems; in a WebQuest learning environment, the knowledge gained from one problem-solving situation can be transferred to another situation; the task-oriented nature of the WebQuest makes it clear what is to be learned; learners are able to pull knowledge from different fields to solve problems; collaboration among learners promotes positive interdependence. For 31.5% it was difficult to decide if the structured nature of WebQuests facilitates retrieval of prior knowledge for new learning or not (they had no opinion), though 54.3% agreed and 14.3% agreed strongly. The ability to use information to solve problems adequately, to propose several solutions, to transfer the knowledge gained from one problem-solving situation to another, and ability to collaborate are skills needed in everyday life. The majority of the Estonian EFL teachers questioned discerned WebQuest as a tool to teach these skills. We may say that theses teachers perceive WebQuests as a task-oriented teaching model where students who work together are able to solve problems in a new way and benefit by giving and receiving help. As Williams (2009) claims, all learners profit, no matter what their intellectual ability is. Only 60% agreed and 5.7% agreed strongly that WebQuest learning promotes accountability among learners (28.6% had no opinion, 5.7% disagreed). More than half of the teachers (51.4%) did not have an opinion on the statement whether learners gain a better understanding of each otherâ€™s point of view in a WebQuest learning environment or not, hence we may say that teachers did not see these two underlying rationales of WebQuests. Over 82% considered WebQuest a teaching tool that promotes interaction among learners; where learners develop better interpersonal and small-group skills; scaffolding facilitates the understanding of the subject content, organizes new learning, enables learners to focus on problems, and to connect their learning activities and goals. The findings demonstrate that Estonian EFL teachers saw constructivist problem solving, scaffolded learning, social interaction among students, and a possibility to integrate different subjects as underlying features of WebQuest. Teachers see the benefits of group-work where students aid each other in completing academic tasks (Jacob 1999: 13, Brooks et al 2001: 68). We may presume that teachers are aware of the difficulties some tasks may pose for some students; therefore they provide suitable guidance and lead students towards the solution. According to Murphy (1997:4) scaffolding helps students perform just beyond the limits of their ability. Relying on these facts and taking into account that pair and group work are important parts of learning and that teacher is a partner and an advisor in the learning process (Vabariigi Valitsus 2011a: 2, 2011b: 2), we may say that Estonian EFL teachers who use WebQuest perceive WebQuest as a good learning tool that can be successfully used to implement the aims of the National Curriculum into language teaching. Although WebQuest is perceived by Estonian EFL teachers as a good method for engaging students in the learning process, teachers must remember that the tasks should not be isolated assignments but connected to what is being taught in the classroom in general. Conclusion Regardless of the considerable technological resources that schools in Estonia offer and the fact that teachers have training courses every year, only 23.5% of all the participants had been introduced to the teaching opportunities of WebQuests. Nevertheless, the findings demonstrate that these Estonian EFL teachers who have used WebQuests in teaching perceived WebQuest to be a student-centred, inquirybased teaching model that promotes integration between different subjects. They see constructivist problem solving, scaffolded learning, and social interaction among students as the underlying features of WebQuest. Teachers saw integration between different subjects as the strongest feature of WebQuests. This is an important fact because the new Estonian National Curricula for basic and upper-secondary schools highlight integration and state that materials used in language teaching should complement other 11
subjects (Vabariigi Valitsus 2011a: 3, 2011b: 3). The new Estonian National Curricula for basic and upper-secondary schools (Vabariigi Valitsus 2011a: 2, 2011b: 2) also state that language is an instrument for acquiring information and for enriching thinking; teachers should take learners’ needs into account; materials should be based on students’ interests, and motivate them to learn. More than 88% of the teachers agreed that these features exist in WebQuests. Thus, we may say that Estonian EFL teachers perceive WebQuest as an active learning instrument where social constructivist learning and teaching dominate. This means that teachers provide students with authentic activities where problem-solving, higher-order thinking skills (creative, critical thinking, analysis, and visualization etc.) are emphasized and, according to Chen (n.d), create a context for learning in which students can become engaged in interesting activities that encourage and facilitate learning. We may say that Estonian EFL teachers appreciate the many uses of WebQuest and perceive it as a good learning tool. It is also in accordance with the Estonian National Curricula for basic and uppersecondary schools and therefore could be a productive part of language teaching and learning. REFERENCES Abbitt, Jason, John Ophus. 2008. What we know about the Impacts of WebQuests: A review of research. AACE Journal, 16: 4, 441-456. Available at http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.ViewFullText&paper_ id=26092, accessed May 1, 2011. AL-Bataineh, Adel, Laura David, Steven Hamann and Laura Wiegel. 2000. Reflections on Practice: Classroom Observations, Available at http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED454229.pdf, accessed January 3, 2012. Brooks, David W., D. E. Nolan and Susan M. Gallagher. 2001. Web-Teaching. New York: Kluwer Academic and Plenum Publishers. Can, Tuncer. 2009. Learning and Teaching Languages Online: A Constructivist Approach. Novitas-ROYAL, 3: 1, 60-74. Available at http://www.ingilish.com/online-learning-constructivism.htm, accessed December 22, 2011. Chen, Irene. n. d. An Electronic Textbook on Instructional Technology. Available at http://viking.coe. uh.edu/~ichen/ebook/et-it/social.htm, accessed June 5, 2011. Fiedler, Rebecca L. 2002. WebQuests: A Critical Examination In Light of Selected Learning Theories. Available at http://www.msfiedler.com/wq/fiedler.pdf, accessed May 1, 2011. Halat, Erdagan. 2008. A Good Teaching Technique: WebQuests. The Clearing House, 81: 3, 109-112. Jacob, Evelyn. 1999. Cooperative Learning in Context: An Educational Innovation in Everyday Classrooms. USA: State University of New York Press. Murphy, Elizabeth. 1997. Characteristics of Constructivist Learning & Teaching. Available at http://www.ucs.mun. ca/~emurphy/stemnet/cle3.html, accessed January 3, 2012. Simina, Vassiliki, Marie-Josee Hamel. 2005. CASLA through a social constructivist perspective: WebQuest in project-driven language learning. ReCALL, 17: 2, 217- 228. Skylar, Ashley A., Kyle Higgins and Randall Boone. 2007. Strategies for Adapting WebQuests for Students with Learning Disabilities. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43: 1, 20-28. Available at http://isc.sagepub.com/ content/43/1/20.full.pdf+html, accessed May 7, 2011. Starr, Linda. 2000. Meet Bernie Dodge – the Frank Lloyd Wright of Learning Environments. Education World. Available at http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat015.shtml, accessed April 31, 2011. Vabariigi Valitsus. 2011a. Gümnaasiumi riiklik õppekava. Lisa 2. Available at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/ aktilisa/1140/1201/1002/VV2_lisa2.pdf, accessed June 5, 2011. Vabariigi Valitsus. 2011b. Põhikooli riiklik õppekava. Lisa 2. Available at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/ aktilisa/1140/1201/1001/VV1_lisa2.pdf, accessed June 5, 2011. Williams, Susan M. 2009. The Impact of Collaborative, Scaffolded Learning in K-12 Schools: A Meta-Analysis. Available at http://www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/socio-economic/docs/Metiri_Classroom_ Collaboration_Research.pdf, accessed January 28, 2012. Yoder, Maureen B., 2005. Inquiry Based Learning Using the Internet; Research, Resources, WebQuests. 19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and learning. Available at: http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/, accessed November 11, 2011. Zheng, Robert, J. Perez, J. Williamson and Jill Anne Flygare. 2008. WebQuests as perceived by teachers: implications for online teaching and learning. Journal of computer Assisted Learning, 24: 4, 295-304. Available at http://www.appstate.edu/~spagnolojt/3850_webquest/webquest%20articles/WebQuest_ Construct.pdf, accessed April 31, 2011.
ARE THEY READY FOR GROWN-UP LIFE? Erika Puusemp
Miina Härma Gymnasium, Teacher of English EATE Vice Chair President of DKG Alpha Chapter
No matter which syllabus we are following, what we teach our students at school is supposed to prepare them for life – THE life out there, beyond school, beyond the certificate of (secondary) education. When I think back to the Year 12 English Exam this spring, there seem to be two (or three) main problems worth our attention, one of them concerns the students’ ability to write certain text types in English, and the other(s) concern their general perception of the world and how it functions. The following is a short checklist compiled on the basis of ideas I developed when reading this year’s papers of the Year 12 English Exam. If you can answer YES to all the questions in connection with a specific student, it is quite probable that the student is ready to tackle the challenges of adult life and, hopefully, the Year 12 Exam in English, at least when it comes to writing. All the references in the following to letters and reports are due to the fact that students had to write these text types at the exam (my apologies to any of you who have not seen the paper and the tasks in it) and all the examples given in italics come from students’ papers. So, does the student know that... 1) a Mary McCarthy unknown to them previously is best addressed as Dear Ms McCarthy at the beginning of a letter, not Dear McCarthy / Dear Sir / Dear Mrs Mary / Respected Mary McCarthy / Dear Mrs Mets (Mari / Mart Mets was actually the name the students had to use for themselves); 2) a letter does not begin with To: … / From: …, and a report does not begin with Dear Lifestyles Magazine, I am writing this article about… / Hello! Today we are going to talk about Estonian Lifestyles. I am reporter Mari Mets. / Dear mr or mrs at European Lifestyle; 3) it is advisable to learn at least some set phrases that are frequently used in formal correspondence (including their spelling) and not write things like Sencerelly Your’s / Yours sanscielly Cloe Jancis / faithly yours / truthfully / I am wrighting to enquier some information / Yours scinesinly / cincerely, waiting forward / I look for forward; 4) there is a formal way of writing the date that English-speaking people from every corner of the world would probably understand the same way, i.e. when the month is written out in full (e.g. 8 May 2012) and not 8/5/12 (Is that May or August?); 5) if they expect an answer to their letter, they should also add their full name (in an exam, they should not use their own name but the name provided for this purpose, e.g. Mari / Mart Mets), not hide behind some weird alias, e.g. The New Fellowship; 6) when writing in answer to an advertisement, it is advisable and polite to get the spelling of all the words that are copied from the ad right, especially names of people and organisations; 7) when writing something, especially when expecting any kind of response to what they are writing, their handwriting should be legible, and when using a word processor, the text should be checked for typographical errors and missing punctuation marks and spaces before sending it off or handing it in; 13
8) any exam paper is a formal piece of writing unless otherwise stated; 9) a report is supposed to be clear and concise and most often also impersonal, and not turn directly to anybody as in I hope you will appreciate this report I wrote and give some feedback; 10) any text (with the exception of some types of fiction and semi-fiction) meant for an unknown reader or a wide readership should, for easier reading, be divided into meaningful paragraphs, be logical and clear and preferably tailored to the intended readership, and stylistically consistent, so a letter beginning with Dear Ms McCarthy should not have anything like the following in it: My name is MMets and I am a trip around UK. Dear Mary, have a nice day! / Can you, Mary, make this happen? 11) in any case it is advisable to think before saying or writing things, to avoid producing sentences like the following that the reader might have trouble understanding: I need to know hurry, how about budget? / I’m writing to apply an advertisement? The second issue is connected to money and how many products and services one can get for a certain sum; travelling, and Britain, which should be an object of study in our lessons to some extent as it is the region where the English language developed initially and where it is still spoken by millions on an everyday basis. One of the tasks at the exam was to write a letter in answer to an online advertisement in order to get some suggestions for a trip to the UK from a travel company that offered to plan a trip for their customers. Even if I leave aside the fact that it is always advisable to read the task carefully before writing anything, as doing this would have helped students to understand they had to describe what kind of holiday they expected and ask for further suggestions rather than only ask questions like Although I’ve heard that people in UK are busy people and all the time they are doing something, so I would ask that what do we have to do there? / What are the leisures we are going to do? / Is there anything to do or is it just a trip to go and see old stuff? / How “tall” is the budget?, an interesting picture of Class 2012 emerged from the responses to this exam task. The prevalent feeling I got was that the average student knows next to nothing about how much food, accommodation or travel might cost. Part of the task read as follows: Let us know about • number of people • budget • time • places to visit • things to do This resulted in multiple instances of Us will be 10. We will go to the trip at Sunday in 10 p.m., all July long, maximum 200€ per person, then go on a shopping and eat in a good restaurant and the like. Despite this overall feeling, there were also people with more realistic expectations (three persons, budget is £800 / I’m planning to waste about 700€) and some pretended they were millionaires (I would be happy to pay what ever sum / the budget is unlimited / prize of your trip 300000£, we are uppermiddle class people). Although we might argue that many of the students have not travelled extensively even in Estonia, let alone in the UK, school leavers are at least 18 years old and should have learnt enough finance management both at home and at school to fathom that it is difficult, for example, for five people to live on 200 euros for the whole summer, even if they stay at home all the time. Thus, it would be even more difficult for a group of friends to travel all around the UK if their guiding principle is we do not have much money but we want to relax and see everything. My wish is to visit all the places in UK: see all the great towns in UK like Dover, the town called Big Ben, the USA, Florida, Stonehedge, Aidenfield, Kiev, Keshon, 14
Odessa, Bendansk (some of them have obviously never learnt geography), Glasgow, Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge, Belfast, London, Dublin, and lighthouses in the north and Big Ban (= the Big Pen Tower), see Manchester United play a home game, try out some royal games, have Continental English breakfast / one week see all the most famous landmarks / some of my girl classmates are crazy of shopping and hillclimbing! / we want to see the Queen and drive around the countryside in Scathland / interested of visiting UK’s rular areas / boat in river Thames / ride two-floor bus / visit some beer museum if you have any there / in every town we visit, we would like to visit the best bars and drink their best liquids and that is what we mostly want to do / I would like to go to Spain and Italy, cover Victorian time inheritage / I thing one or maybe two weeks are enough to get all height seeing what the UK is worth for. Does this mean we need more business classes at school, or geography, or general culture studies, or is this what we should be expecting from people whose average response to a question about their future home and household chores resembles the following (as collectively described in exam task 2, a report)? How women and men spent their time in Estonia: describe the main differences performed. As the chart belows: Most women in Estonia don’t work. A woman is considered to be more of a housechicken than an equal on the job market. Women are the rulers of Estonian household with more then 8 houres worth of chores per day. Women is an universal tool that can do everything to a certain extent. The purpose of women is to keep house in clearance and to grow up children. The majority of Estonians are women who wash and mend the clothes. This is credited to single mothers. Women are better householders and more compadible to sowing. Women have too many clothes. Men are dumb about washing (nowadays washing machines are complicated, men let women do all the washing). Women usually don’t make white clothes pink in washing machine. It is easier for men to buy new clothes instead. First of all woman is mother. Mens don’t attract babysitting. This difference occurs because women have to spend nine months with an unborn child, carrying him or her around, breastfeed them and put them to sleep. Women do not trust their children to men but there are still some parents who prefer taking care of children. Men are considered to be string workaholics. Ther remains a thinking that some jobs are made for men. It’s just normal that men do not do dirty job. For men there are some hard jobs like house builder, mechanic, fire fighter, etc. It’s normal because men body is more responsible for weights than womens body. Women logic can not shine this kind of activities. Men have more important things to do, they do not like sedentary and mind-numbing activities like washing and mending. Men like to drink and smoke, therefore they will be more violent. That makes me wonder if the European households are really so broken, that men need to spend 2.4 hours per day for repairing. This can be explained by men being more busy with war men are earning money in Finland. Everybody know’s that guy’s are better cooks. That is why we let women to cook. They just have to practice. Men are natural cookers, woman is a multifunctional helper at home who like to play around with their food and do more experienced food, like soups. Another thing that men do is pets. Seems to be that average man is a pit lazier than an average woman, and he uses he’s energy outside the home. Men are more of pet people, petting takes over one and a half hour. It is menly doing. Dealing with pets is not compulsory like the other chores a good chance to rest from family and do some sport. Gardening is the least sexist household chore (lawn the mow!). In Estonia it has always been that way. As far as I am concerned, this is not going to change. Although 15
men should do more household chores to make their husbands life easier. Woman might be too neat and are trying too hard to achieve perfection. And to be honest, Estonian women enjoy householding.
A FEW FALSE FRIENDS OF THE TRANSLATOR (V) Ilmar Anvelt
Department of English University of Tartu
For parts I-IV see OPEN! 22 – 25, November 2002 – May 2004) A lot of time has passed since the publication of the English-Estonian dictionary of false friends (Allas et al. 2005) and my series of articles on the topic in OPEN! Therefore, I would like to come back to the issue again and write about a few words that have caught my attention meanwhile and that were not included in the dictionary or my previous articles. ironic, also ironical – irooniline In Estonian the word is basically used about a bitterly mocking attitude, like the examples from Eesti keele seletav sõnaraamat show: Irooniline (vahe) märkus, torge, vastus. Irooniline suhtumine. Ta on muutunud üsna, väga irooniliseks. Ei maksa minna nii irooniliseks. Püüdsin anda oma häälele iroonilist kõla. Irooniline pilk, naeratus. In this meaning, the word is used in English as well, e.g. Ukrainian artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov’s work is an ironic reply to this situation (Sienkiewicz). When I got to know him, he had a nihilistic way of talking and an ironic smile (Hoaglund). In addition to this, however, it is often used in English to mean a situation that is ’unusual or amusing because something strange happens or the opposite of what is expected happens or is true’ (LDOCE). Some writers call this use of the word mistaken, e.g. It is also mistakenly used to describe something out of the ordinary or unusual: “Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day in November. It was really ironic.” Read more at http://hotword.dictionary.com/ironic/#OVTGIyVxgB8u7yT6.99. Whether right or wrong, this kind of use of the word is widely spread in English, and in Estonian we might use kummaline, erakordne or other similar words for that meaning. ironic, ironical – 1 irooniline, pilkav, salvav 2 kummaline, erakordne, paradoksaalne scenario – stsenaarium In Estonian, the word is most often used when speaking about films, e.g. Filmi mahlakas dialoog ja rahvalikud elust pärit karakterid kasvavad välja stsenaariumist (Laasik 2012). In English, however, the word 'scenario' is seldom used in this meaning, although it is not really wrong. The usual words used in the context of films and television programmes are ’script’ and ’screenplay’: From script to screen. We develop and produce film and television projects for the British and international markets…(Scenario Films Ltd). In both languages, the word ’scenario’ can also be used in a more general meaning, for everything else but films, in order to describe how a situation might possibly develop. Typical collocations in Estonian are ‘must stsenaarium’, ‘tulevikustsenaarium’: Kui Lätis realiseerub must stsenaarium, siis avaldab see ka Eestile tõsist mõju (Läti must stsenaarium… 2009). Planeeringu käigus mängiti läbi võimalik Saku tulevikustsenaarium ja sellest lähtuvalt planeeriti uus Saku keskus (Nägemus Saku arengust… 2012). The same collocations are typical of English as well: Europe is prepared for the “black scenario” of Greece being unable to produce a reform-capable government in its approaching elections… (Europe ready… 2012) A bold future scenario for the year 2020 to avoid big and non-personal mega brands (Small screen…). 16
scenario – stsenaarium stsenaarium – 1 (filmi käsikiri) script, screenplay 2 (võimalik või eeldatav arengukäik) scenario diversion – diversioon The Estonian word, quite often used in the compound ‘diversiooniakt’ (an act of diversion) has quite a threatening aura about it. For example, Diversioon: Gruusia raudteel kärgatas plahvatus (Delfi). Teda süüdistati sõjakuritegudes, nimelt USA sõjaväe mundrit kandes diversiooniaktide ettevalmistamises (Otto Skorzeny). Me maale sõitis diversant turisti nime all, tal kaasas fotokaamera ja püstol hõlma all (Generaator M). The typical English meanings of the word can be easily understood if we think of the meaning of the verb ’divert’ – ‘kõrvale juhtima, ümber suunama’: Recreation is better known as an act of diversion: an activity that diverts, amuses, refreshes or stimulates the mind, body and soul (Recreation). Tweetspeaker is a fun diversion from your everyday Twitter app (Agreda 2011). Need a diversion from your usual weekly routine? (BigInk PR) Road closures and diversions (ümbersõidud) in your area (Directgov). My main diversion from marine biology is playing and listening to music—specifically oldtime banjo music (Cordell). In the meaning of ‘diversion’ as explosions and suchlike, ‘sabotage’ might be used rather: Transport authorities suspect sabotage is to blame for the derailment of a northern train in Lamphun province on Saturday evening (Bangkok Post 2012). diversion – 1 kõrvalejuhtimine/-pööramine 2 (liiklus) ümbersõit 3 meelelahutus, lõbustus diversion – sabotage hamster – hamster This word does not seem to create a problem – the same is used in both languages for the same animal. In Estonian, however, the word also has a figurative meaning. It is used for a person who hoards things or food: Niisusgune juba eestlane kord, et ikka hakkab ennem talve nagu hamster omale varusid koguma (Mõtteid kõigist taskutest 2008). In English, the animal that is supposed to have such habits is the pack rat. Such an animal really exists; another name for it is the wood rat. These rats have bushy tails, large ears, and a tendency to hoard food and debris on or near their dens. Schoolgirl Kathy Loggie writes, Staying in an isolated house on a mountaintop in New Mexico I found cat food and rice carefully placed within layers of clothing in my suitcase which was left open in my room over night – wondering if this strange occurrence was the work of a pack rat. Wood rat If so, I’d like to know more about the habits and character of these rodents (Merriam-Webster). Coming to the figurative meaning of ’pack rat’, Urban Dictionary defines it as ‘a person who stores anything they acquire and will discard none of it’, and gives the following example: My dad is such a pack rat. He still stores his stuff in my mom’s house despite the fact that he is no longer married to her. How to avoid becoming a pack rat can be read at http://mom.me/home/1290-avoid-becoming-pack-rat/?utm_source=ehow_opar&utm_ medium=2&utm_campaign=momme1 hamster fig – pack rat anecdote – anekdoot In Estonian it usually means a joke that is not based on something that has happened in real life. Those who have lived in the Soviet times, most probably remember numerous anekdoodid about Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and, particularly, about Vasili Chapayev, a Red Army commander in the Civil War. In English, however, an anecdote is a short story based on someone’s personal experience (LDOCE), like the following example shows: Physically, the young Bill Gates fit his “nerd before the term was invented” image by being all arms and legs. But he did have one striking physical capability. The wiry kid liked to lure unsuspecting suckers into betting he could not jump out of a garbage can from a standing start. He could. Even as a young adult Gates liked to amuse skeptics by jumping over 17
chairs and sofas (Andrews). Thus, this is not an invented joke to mock Bill Gates, but something that really characterised him. Websites that give advice on essay writing often encourage students to use an anecdote for the beginning of an essay: An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. Be sure your anecdote is short, to the point, and relevant to your topic. This can be a very effective opener for your essay, but use it carefully (Guide to Writing a Basic Essay). anecdote – lugu, tõsilugu anekdoot – joke trampoline – trampliin Here, I think, two pictures are worth more than two thousand words.
trampoline – batuut trampliin – ski jump informer, informant – informaator, informant The Estonian ‘informaator’ is usually understood as a clerk who sits at a desk and answers people’s requests for information, e.g. at an airport, a clinic, a shopping centre. The English name for this job is ‘information desk receptionist’. As an information desk receptionist, she’s the first person visitors see when they enter the hospital… (Boyarsky 2010). In some contexts, however, ‘informaator’ can have a much more sinister meaning, as can be seen in the following examples: Hiiglasliku vaevatasu saanud informaator aitas valitsusvägedel paljastada Ecuadori naabruses asunud mässuliste baasi (Taras 2008). Kolmas tunnistaja nimega Scott Chubb oli politsei informaator ja sai oma ütluste eest raha (Seksuaalmõrvari kaitsja… 2007). The English translation of ’informaator’ in that meaning is ’informer’. E.g. The former chief of the Chilean secret police, convicted of masterminding a lethal car bombing here in 1976, was an informer for the Central Intelligence Agency…(Marquis 2000). ’Informant’ is generally used as a synonym of ’informer’, but it also has an additional meaning: ‘someone who gives information about their language, social customs etc to someone who is studying them’ (LDOCE). ’Informant’ is used in the same meaning in Estonian too, or the native term ’keelejuht’ can be used. E.g. …the ability to understand and speak the dialect being investigated makes communicating with the informants easier (Varieng). Ajavormi sobivusele antud hinnanguid põhjendas 28 eesti ja 29 vene keelejuhti (Maisla). informer, informant – (politsei)informaator informant – keelejuht, informant informaator – information desk receptionist veneer – vineer Although the meanings of the English and the Estonian word are rather similar and can even coincide sometimes, there are still differences in their usage. LDOCE defines ’veneer’ as ‘a thin layer of wood or plastic that covers the surface of a piece of furniture made of cheaper material’. Usually the word ‘spoon’ is used for it in Estonian. Täispuidust ja naturaalse spooniga kaetud mööbel sobib interjööri, mille kujundamisel on peamisteks märksõnadeks kvaliteet, lihtsus ja klassikalisus (Wermo). Actually ÕS defines ‘spoon’ as ‘lehtvineer’ or EKSS as ‘õhuke ühekihiline vineer’. The English word for the 18
thicker kind of ’vineer’ is ’plywood’. In this in depth tutorial you’ll learn how to model a bent plywood chair using reference images as guides for your design (Rhino Tech Tips). In English ’veneer’ also has an additional meaning – ‘behaviour that hides someone’s real character or feelings’ (LDOCE). I’ve long wondered whether middle class kids aren’t just better at masking racism beneath a veneer of politeness and tolerance…(Savvy Racism 2007). veneer – 1 spoon, lehtvineer 2 piltl pealispind, kattekiht; veneer of politeness – väline viisakus vineer – plywood REFERENCES Agreda, Victor. 2011. Tweetspeaker is a fun diversion from your everyday Twitter app. http://www.tuaw. com/2011/10/07/tweetspeaker-is-a-fun-diversion-from-your-everyday-twitter-app. Accessed 22 September 2012. Allas, Age, Ilmar Anvelt, Enn Veldi. 2005. Inglise-eesti eksitussõnastik. Tartu: Studium. Andrews, Paul. Top 10 Bill Gates anecdotes from his early days. http://instantseattle.com/Top_Gates_anecdotes.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. BigInk PR. https://twitter.com/BigInkPR/status/194819951981363200. Accessed 22 September 2012. Cordell, Jeff R. Music. http://fish.washington.edu/people/cordell/music.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. Directgov. Road closures and diversions in your area. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/ WhereYouLive/StreetsParkingCleaningAndLighting/DG_10028508. Accessed 22 September 2012. Diversioon: Gruusia raudteel kärgatas plahvatus. 2009. Delfi 2. juuni 2009. http://m.delfi.ee/article. php?id=23695525. Accessed 22 September 2012. Eesti keele seletav sõnaraamat. Eesti Keele Instituut. http://www.eki.ee/dict/ekss/index.cgi. Accessed 22 September 2012. Europe ready for black scenario after Greek elections – Tusk. 2012. Polish Press Agency. http://www. pap.pl/palio/html.run?_Instance=cms_www.pap.pl&_PageID=34&s=infopakiet&dz=en_swiat&id NewsComp=&filename=&idnews=59354&data=infopakiet&_CheckSum=1853795950. Accessed 22 September 2012. Generaator M Diversant Lyrics. http://www.lyrics44.com/GENERAATOR-M-DIVERSANT-LYRICS/255015. Accessed 22 September 2012. Guide to Writing a Basic Essay. http://lklivingston.tripod.com/essay/intro.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. Hoaglund, Linda. Protest Art in 1950s Japan. http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/protest_art_50s_japan/anp1_essay05.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. How to Avoid Becoming a Pack Rat. http://mom.me/home/1290-avoid-becoming-pack-rat/?utm_ source=ehow_opar&utm_medium=2&utm_campaign=momme1. Accessed 22 September 2012. Is “ironic” the most abused word in English? http://hotword.dictionary.com/ironic/#OVTGIyVxgB8u7yT6.99. Accessed 22 September 2012. Laasik, Andres. 2012. Põlev praam ja Eesti intelligentsia piinad. Eesti Päevaleht 2. august 2012. http:// www.epl.ee/news/kultuur/polev-praam-ja-eesti-intelligentsi-piinad.d?id=64769086. Accessed 22 September 2012. Läti must stsenaarium: II osa - mõjud Eestile. 2009. http://vahurkoorits.blogspot.com/2009/10/lati-muststsenaarium-ii-osa-mojud.html. LDOCE – Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. 2003. Fourth Edition with CD-ROM. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. Maisla, Diana. 2011. Kuidas eesti keele õppijad ja kasutajad lause verbi ajavormi sobivust hindavad? Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühingu aastaraamat 7, 95–110. Marquis, Christopher. 2000. C.I.A Says Chilean General in ‘76 Bombing Was Informer. New York Times. 19
September 19, 2000. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/19/world/cia-says-chilean-general-in-76bombing-was-informer.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. Mõtteid kõigist taskutest. 2008. http://eluonselline.wordpress.com/2008/09/06. Accessed 22 September 2012. Nägemus Saku arengust 2030+. 2012. Saku vallaraamatukogu. http://lib.sakuvald.ee/Nagemus_Saku_ arengust_2030_152.htm. Accessed 22 September 2012. Otto Skorzeny. Metapeedia. http://et.metapedia.org/wiki/Otto_Skorzeny. Accessed 22 September 2012. Pack rat. Merriam-Webster Online. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pack%20rat. Accessed 22 September 2012. Recreation. http://lifestyle.indianetzone.com/recreation/1/recreation.htm. Accessed 22 September 2012. Rhino Tech Tips. 2010. http://tips.rhino3d.com/2010/09/modeling-bent-plywood-chair.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. Savvy Racism. 2007. http://educationandclass.com/2007/02/02/savvy-racism. Accessed 22 September 2012. Scenario Films Ltd. http://www.scenariofilms.com. Accessed 22 September 2012. Seksuaalmõrvari kaitsja süüdistas tunnistajaid valetamises. 2007. Õhtuleht 21. november 2007. http:// www.ohtuleht.ee/255206. Accessed 22 September 2012. Sienkiewicz, Karol. 2012. All You Need Is Love. New Eastern Europe. http://www.neweasterneurope. eu/node/160. Accessed 22 September 2012. Small screen / Big story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTv5j-pi-M0. Accessed 22 September 2012. Taras, Madis. 2008. Kolumbia maksis informaatorile 2,7 miljonit dollarit. Eesti Päevaleht 8. aprill 2008. http:// www.epl.ee/news/valismaa/kolumbia-maksis-informaatorile-27-miljonit-dollarit.d?id=51125682. Accessed 22 September 2012. Train crash was ‘an act of sabotage’. 2012. Bangkok Post 29 May 2012. http://bangkokpost.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx. Accessed 22 September 2012. Urban Dictionary. http://www.urbandictionary.com. Accessed 22 September 2012. Varieng. Research unit for variation, contacts and change in English. http://www.helsinki.fi/varieng/ CoRD/corpora/Dialects/fieldwork.html. Accessed 22 September 2012. Wermo. http://wermo.ee. Accessed 22 September 2012.
DO YOU VOLUNTEER? Pärnu College of the University of Tartu
OVERTURE 2012 In the spring of 2012, when working with a group of students of social work and rehabilitation administration at Pärnu College of the University of Tartu, we were covering the topic of charity in the English for Social Work course. Amongst other tasks and subtopics, we touched upon volunteering. I set them the task to briefly write about their experience in it, or in case they had none, to describe what they would like to do. When reading students’ submissions, I was amazed at the variety and wealth of experience some had in it, as much as I was stunned by some wishes to go to Africa as volunteers. A collection of these experiences and ideas will be presented as a list towards the end of 20
the current article. This assignment inspired me to look into the subject in more detail, primarily bearing youngsters or young adults in mind, and some findings, website suggestions for further information, and ideas for language teaching activities can be found in further sections. WHAT IS IT, ANYWAY? First, have you ever volunteered to do anything? Sure enough, we do – in the family, in the household, amongst friends and colleagues we offer to do something, help someone out, and lend a hand, without necessarily thinking of labelling an act of unselfishness as volunteering. Are you a member of a nonprofit organisation, in other words of a non-governmental organisation, dubbed as NGO (such as EATE, a village society, an apartment association or anything similar)? Are you holding a post on its managing board, or perhaps do an odd job every now and then? Do you do some kind of pro bono work only because you like doing it, or you feel it benefits a community? Do you arrange events, trips, parties, and so on for a group or an organisation you are a member of? Have you then thought of yourself as a volunteer, or are you of the opinion that volunteering is only when you fight against AIDS or teach basic literacy in a least developed country of the Third World? There are many definitions but no universal agreement on what is volunteering. Energize Inc., an international training, consulting and publishing firm specialising in volunteerism suggests the following (Volunteerism, 2012): • •
Volunteer, verb – to choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one’s basic obligations. Volunteer, noun – from the perspective of the doer: Someone who gives time, effort and talent to a need or cause without profiting monetarily. Volunteer, noun – from the perspective of the recipient of service: Someone who contributes time, effort and talent to meet a need or further a mission, without going on the payroll.
According to Wikipedia, volunteering “is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. It is considered as serving the society through own interest, personal skills or learning, which in return produces a feeling of self-worth and respect, instead of money. Volunteering is also famous for skill development, to socialize and to have fun. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment or for a variety of other reasons. Volunteering takes many forms, and can be performed by anyone with own set of skills. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work in, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Other volunteers serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or for a beach-cleanup.” (Volunteering, 2012) 2011 was the European Year of Volunteering and many project activities were carried out; an Estonian project Volunteer for Tomorrow targeted young people aged between 14 and 26, and more information about it can be found at: vabatahtlik2011.sscw.ee. BRITISH EXAMPLES The 2012 Olympic Games in London involved some 70,000 volunteers, chosen from a whopping 240,000 applications. Those volunteers were called Games Makers, and there were also special teams for youngsters of 16-18. More information is available at www.london2012.com/about-us/volunteers. A good source for further information and links to websites on volunteering in the United Kingdom is UK Volunteering at www.ukvolunteering.org. A useful website for activities for young people is Junction 49 where they can share and develop ideas (www.junction49.co.uk). A volunteering opportunity website is vinspired.com, which also has good videos for helping potential volunteers select their area of interest, especially when they are unsure of what to get involved in. It may serve as an information-packed source for further activities in class or homework in language learning or perhaps when discussing community work opportunities. 21
ESTONIAN EXAMPLES The title of the Volunteer of the Year 2011was awarded to Riina Varts, and this is what she said about volunteering, “When someone says they have no time, they are actually telling a social lie. All of us have 24 hours a day. When I say I have no time, what I am actually saying is it is not important. If it is important for me, I can find the time, one can always find the time for things which matter in life.” Should one be looking for information about volunteering in Estonia, here are some suggestions to start with. There is the volunteers’ gateway website at: www.vabatahtlikud.ee in Estonian. Did you know that volunteers may carry a special passport? Find its form here: www.vabatahtlikud.ee/et/Vabatahtliktegevus/Vabatahtliku-pass, fill it in and off you go! The website only comes in Estonian, although its purpose is explained in English at: www.vabatahtlikud. ee/UserFiles/vt%20pass/Volunteer%20Passport%20Estonia.pdf. The name of Youth for Understanding (YFU) might ring a bell for those who have been exchange students or acted as hosts in an exchange programme. YFU also have scope for volunteering and information about the organisation and its activities can be found at http://www.yfu.ee/yfu-estonia-2/. Sadly, information about volunteering is only made available in Estonian on their site but not in English. For young people from 15 to 28 (in some cases 13 to 30), a suitable programme to start with is the Youth in Action Programme (Euroopa Noored in Estonian), a programme which “promotes mobility within and beyond the EU borders, non-formal learning and intercultural dialogue, and encourages the inclusion of all young people, regardless of their educational, social and cultural background” (Youth in Action, 2012). There are exchange programmes available allowing young people to take up volunteering posts in other countries for the duration of 2–12 months. Thus, not only Estonian youths find themselves in new and diverse European environments, but we can also meet foreign volunteers in Estonian schools, towns and villages performing all sorts of tasks and duties. Volunteering is not just for youngsters and young adults, although they form a large part of the volunteer body. It is also for elderly and retired people, an example of opportunities is GIVE – Grundtvig Initiative on Volunteering in Europe for Seniors, and it aims − to enable senior citizens to volunteer in another European country for any kind of non-profit activity; − to create lasting cooperation between the host and sending organisations around a specific topic or target group; − to enable the local communities involved in the exchange of volunteers to draw on the potential of senior citizens as a source of knowledge, competence and experience (Lifelong Learning Programme, 2012). The topic of volunteering might sound daunting but it shouldn’t, since it is easy to bring it in when speaking about students’ leisure activities or hobbies, or their involvement with their community. My students’ experience is that some take care of a child in a school or a children’s home, some work in pet shelters, some have performed in shows and concerts arranged to provide entertainment and raise funds for a particular cause, some help out with arrangements for a fair or a sports event. Many have participated in Let’s Do It campaigns, and when one comes to think about those listed, most of them require no particular talents or skills, just good will and time. The above is a brief review of some sources of information and merely scratches the surface. Once you start looking for more, you’ve no idea where you’ll end up. Before embarking on the subject in the classroom, it would be a good idea to take an inventory of your own volunteering experience and 22
activities, then look at those of your friends and family, and in no time you’ll have information and ideas for several lessons. TASKS AND ACTIVITIES FOR CLASSROOM USE My volunteering experience. Ask the students to fill in the table below (may be done in groups, each group filling in a separate section of the table). Arrange group or all-class discussions as follow-up for presenting views and opinions. You might be surprised to see that a lot of work can be done without any specific skills or special training. 1. I have volunteered to do the following:
2. I have not volunteered but I’d like to do the following (or future plans or dreams):
3. What volunteering requires / what is expected:
4. What I gain from volunteering:
The volunteer passport. Use this as a general introduction into the topic of volunteering or to present the idea of the volunteer passport. Option: at higher levels of language skills and suitable age groups, you can ask students to translate (parts of) the passport from Estonian into English, and then have discussions. Fill in the table. This activity, related to the volunteer passport described above, may be used to kick off discussions, introduce and/or revise vocabulary. Social skills (to communicate and work with people, resolve issues)
Organisational skills (to manage people, processes, projects, organisation)
Professional skills (any manual, technical, vocational skills)
Use the word VOLUNTEERS to make new words. - If you have ten students in a group, ask them to come to the front of the class, give each of them a sheet of paper with a letter on it (forming the word ‘volunteers’) and ask them to stand in a line so that they form a word (without telling them which word you are looking for). Other members of the class may help. This activity should suit our kinaesthetic learners best or those restless lads at the rear of the class. - Once the word is formed, elicit ideas for activities volunteers can be engaged in; which voluntary organisations they know; their personal experience and involvement, etc. 23
Word formation – Use each letter in a word only once, except for E (work in groups or pairs using pen and paper, can be set as a competition). o o o o o o o o o o
Form as many 3-letter / 4-letter etc words as quickly as you can (e.g. within 60 seconds) Form five 5-letter words starting with L in e.g. 2 minutes. Form x words starting with T (or any other letter in the word). Form two words for parts of body. Form one word for a period of 40 days in spring which precedes a Christian holiday Form two sports terms (in ball games) Form one noun for a flower Form one verb for driving Form one verb that is an opposite to find Form a word for someone who behaves in a rude or offensive way, often when drunk, e.g. in compound nouns such as lager- or vodka-..... o etc.
Twitter or Facebook. Instead of having to write a paragraph on volunteering, students might welcome writing an exchange of tweets (text-based message of up to 140 characters), or an entry for their FB account (or – a blog, diary, portfolio) as part of their class work or homework. Tasks for messages may vary, e.g.: - report on your skills as a volunteer - you are interested in finding opportunities for volunteering and ask around - tell other people of an upcoming event where volunteers are required - share an exciting experience of volunteering at an event (event description may be provided or students make it up) Drawing a poster. Students form groups of four and design a poster (size A1, A3), and then present it to the class in groups. Option – use graphic design and multimedia, and prepare it on computers, present it orally in the classroom, or record an oral presentation as a podcast. Ideas for themes: − Advertisement of an event which requires volunteers − An organisation which recruits volunteers − Event organisers require volunteers to staff various positions during a one-day event − Which skills are required to work e.g. in a dog shelter; children’s home; a Food Bank campaign; Let’s Do It campaign (varies dependent on your students’ age, interests, life experience, etc) Narratives. Students sit in circles (the number of circles depends on the size of your class, but ideally 4-6 in each circle). The task is to create a story so that each student contributes a sentence (or a 1-minute passage) to it in turn. Themes should be provided to kick off the story. The group may finish their story when they feel they have completed it, run out of ideas, or cannot come up with more sentences within e.g. 30 seconds. Follow-up – write the story up from memory. Ideas for themes: 1) Mari is an 18-year-old girl who lives in a small town in Estonia. She likes music a lot and can play the piano and the guitar, she also sings in a girls’ choir. 2) Tom is a teenager who is interested in making things and roaring engines. He could spend hours riding his motorbike or quad bike, and also repair or improve them. 3) Your idea here: ............... Multiple interviewers Focus: listening and using interrogative forms Level: elementary to advanced 24
Preparation time: none 1. Ask for one student to volunteer to be interviewed about a topic (of their choice or agreed upon), and ask for a volunteer interviewer. 2. Tell the group that any time anyone wants to take over as interviewer, they just go and touch the current interviewer on the shoulder; they then take over as interviewer. Students can also replace the interviewee the same way. A group member can do this at any time. 3. Explain that the idea is to do it in a harmonious way, so that the interview proceeds smoothly. Source: Unit 36, Multiple Intelligences in EFL by H.Puchta and M.Rinvolucri. Alphabet dialogues Focus: dialogue writing within formal constraints Level: post-beginner to intermediate Preparation: two large sheets of paper to stick on the board (optional if your blackboard is large enough) 1. Ask a volunteer to come to the board and write a dialogue with you. Tell them to write their first line of the dialogue on the right hand side of the board while you do the same on the left. The first word of both of your sentences must start with the letter ‘A’. 2. Change places and reply to each other’s first line. You must both start your replies with the letter ‘B’. 3. Send the volunteer back to their seat and pair the students. Ask each student to write on a separate sheet, and follow the model above. Instead of changing places, students swap the sheets. They could begin their dialogues with the letter ‘C’ and write six utterances, thus finishing off with ‘H’. 4. Ask three or four pairs to read out their dialogues. Source: Unit 40, Multiple Intelligences in EFL by H.Puchta and M.Rinvolucri Reading an article Drongan Health Initiative Volunteering teenagers – Sean McCluskey (14), Liam McCluskey (12) Liam – I’ve been volunteering for 2 years and Sean has been doing it for 4 years. Sean – I think it’s really good to meet people in the older generation and take time to know them better. We deliver the fruit and veg to a Care Home up the road and to 4 or 5 couples. Someone collects the orders for fruit and veg on Wednesdays – although in the winter it can also be things like a newspaper and hair dye! Rosalie makes up the orders and on Saturday we deliver them. We get to keep the bikes during the week and we come down to the centre to hook up the trailers. We’re hoping to branch out and deliver to people who are just out of hospital and things like that in the future. The customers often comment about how it’s a good Volunteers Sean and Liam price and good quality. Liam – It’s good when you bump into the older people on the street because they know you and will stop and chat. Sean – It keeps us fit as well and gives us something to do. I’ve been quite surprised getting to know old people as before I did this I saw them as people who just shouted at you for kicking a ball or something, I think they also saw young people as stereotypes, like we were all bad, so it’s good to get to know them for that reason. 25
Liam – Some of them have got no relations so they look forward to seeing us when we visit and we usually have a chat about how they’re doing, what they’ve seen on the telly, or what soup they’re going to make with the veg! Sean – I’d recommend volunteering to anybody. Liam – It’s good fun. What to do: Pre-reading, e.g. True/False questions Predictions and discussion based on the picture about what the boys do as volunteers After reading, e.g. Gap fill; Use of tenses; True/false questions; Comprehension questions etc. Brainstorm – fruit and veg (seasonal, domestic, of particular colour etc). Act the story out in pairs, extend it with students’ own ideas. Write a blog entry describing one day doing deliveries (create a route using Google maps, create a list of customers and their orders; characterise the customers – practise the order of adjectives, practise adjectives to describe people’s appearance, personal qualities). Discussion ideas: Which qualities / characteristics / skills should the boys have? What kind of training is required? Are there any safety issues? What have they learnt through their voluntary work? Volunteering experience (based on written assignments of students of Pärnu College on their volunteering experience, see My Volunteering Experience task above) Things PC students have done: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
cleaning up a beach donating toys and clothes to a children’s home arranging events in a kindergarten (as a parent) donating clothes participating in Teeme ära / Let’s Do It campaign (World Clean-up) Food Bank donations collecting clothes and shoes for a specific family in one’s community, helping with household jobs playing with children in a children’s home taking care of a specific child in a children’s home collecting used blankets and pillows for a pet shelter donating blood raising and training dogs for rescue and search purposes being a member of emergency first aid team making pancakes for children at a community event working in a project for teenage mothers working in a unit of the Defence League of Estonia helping a large family / single parent family being a member of a large families association, NGO
Plans and dreams: - establish a care home for elderly people - work in Africa - live with a family in Africa, teach them literacy and computers - work in a pet shelter - work with children in disadvantaged families
- - - -
work with street children (teach various subjects and help with doing homework) work with children and youngsters, disabled or able-bodied work with Food Bank in Estonia, later work abroad help handicapped children in Third World countries
What it requires: – lots of commitment – big heart – desire to help – empathy
– time – skills – no previous experience required
What it does: – contributes to the development of the community – contributes to well-being – makes you feel good – gives you inner strength – improves your skills
– – – –
enriches your leisure time provides work experience you make new friends you gain interesting experience
REFERENCES Drongan Health Initiative. 2012. www.volunteerscotland.org.uk/Content/ByKey/_rongan_ealth_nitiative. Accessed: 20 August 2012. Puchta, H., Rinvolucri, M. 2010. Multiple Intelligences in EFL. CUP. Lifelong Learning Programme. 2012. www.llp.eupa.org.mt/content.php?id=53 Accessed 8 September 2012. Volunteerism. 2012. www.energizeinc.com. Accessed 3 September 2012. Volunteering, 2012. www.wikipedia.com. Accessed 15 August 2012. Youth in Action, 2012. ec.europa.eu/youth/youth-in-action-programme/overview_en.htm. Accessed 8 September 2012.
MY ’CANADIA’ OR TEACHING MYSELF TO LIVE Helin Haga
Science Centre AHHAA Project manager
When I first started planning my four-month trip to Canada in 2011, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to go to the province of British Columbia (or B.C. as the Canadians call it) since I had heard many a good word about the region’s magnificent nature. However, as faith would have it, British Columbia was to become the last place to be checked off from my list of destinations in Canada, and not to be remembered with the sense of nostalgic longing as initially expected. This was all because I found something very valuable somewhere else – I learnt some very important lessons already on my way to B.C., namely in Alberta, the mountainous, somewhat neglected province right next to B.C. However, before I can shed some light on everything that Alberta taught me, I feel I need to say a few words about the general idea behind my travels to Canada as it might help to explain and better understand quite a number of things to be mentioned later on. Since I do not know where to begin, I will simply start by saying that I decided to leave for Canada since I felt it was like a ’now or never’ moment for me – I had 27
just turned 26, meaning that, in the sense of EU legislation, I was no longer considered ’a child’ (well, in my head this was automatically translated to not being seen as ’young’ anymore) and I got the urge to simply go and explore as much as I could before the arrival of the impending, slightly scary 30th birthday that seemed to be approaching at an alarming speed. Naturally, the alluring prospect of practicing my language skills while getting away from it all played a great part in my decision to leave as well, as did the chance of being able to be all alone to think, relax and enjoy what the Western culture had to offer. However, going to Alberta in particular was added to the agenda only after I had flown over the Atlantic Ocean and spent a few days in the province of Ontario as a volunteer. The sole reason for me to even consider Alberta as the next step on the way was the wish to see a familiar face in the unfamiliar North American surroundings. This familiar face was an old school mate of mine who had made his way to Calgary, the oil capital of Alberta just a few weeks before my arrival in the country. The trouble was, however, that since I had only very limited funds, I needed to find a place where I could actuBlack Mountain ally go and stay while in Alberta. The magnificent Internet came to my rescue and, with the help of the volunteering site workaway.info, I signed up for some general assistance work at a ‘rustic cabin campsite’ only a few hours away from the Albertan capital Edmonton. So, with my living arrangements sorted, I got in touch with my friend and, after spending quite a lot of time fishing for the best flight prices, I bought my plane tickets and was ready to leave the East behind and venture into the West. I did make a few detours that took up a few more weeks before I actually left Ontario but since these wanderings bear little relevance to this story, I will skip them this time around. Now, as a side note, a few words about my relationship with flying, if I may. I am a relatively frequent flyer and someone who has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to finding ways for squeezing as many luggage items into the mind-bogglingly low luggage limits commonly seen on flights operated by European budget flight companies (and, as you might have guessed, my ’frequent flyer’ status has quite a lot to do with the existence of these budget airlines). Therefore, I was fully prepared to wear my wonderfully clever jacket that has innumerable extra deep pockets that can hold many a heavy item on the flight from Toronto to Calgary as well but was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was no need for any tricks – my carrier WestJet’s luggage limits were sufficiently high as it was. Relieved and grateful also for the highly efficient do-it-yourself electronic check-in and luggage tag stands, I was in a very good state of mind and truly looking forward to what was to await me in Alberta. Similarly to my friend who had been part of the reason I had flown across those more than 3,000 km of land in the first place, I landed in the Albertan city of Calgary. The city itself was not very big but vastly spread-out and a challenge even for true walking enthusiasts. The appeal, however, was the view over the Albertan Rocky Mountains that could be enjoyed from the high parks of the city. The more I happened to catch a glimpse of these mountains, the more restless I grew. By that time, I had been in Canada for almost a month and the first signs of homesickness and loneliness were becoming apparent. I did try my best to entertain myself, but all my efforts had only very short-term effects. My plan was to stay in Calgary for the entire three weeks before I was supposed to leave for the aforementioned ’rustic cabin campsite’. However, this plan was to be very short-lived since, right after I had met my friend and had a very inspiring talk about our common passion – hiking – I realized that the lack of hiking must have been one of the culprits for my growing uneasiness and frustration. Thus, I decided to change the unfortunate situation since forcing myself to like something that was obviously disagreeable, although full of novelty and new discoveries every single day, was not working for me and on what I would call the very last moment, I just left. I distanced myself, stopped torturing myself with blame over not liking my trip enough and... actually went to the mountains. Banff was the place that saved me from myself and, despite being depicted as a slightly snobbish mountain resort, Banff treated me well and put a smile back on my face. In Banff, I hiked 28
to the top of two peaks, Crescent Mountain and Tunnel Mountain, and spent a week simply breathing. In and out. This was my first lesson – I learned that you should never give in to excessive convenience and simply do what you love most, otherwise it will ruin you. But Banff was just the beginning. The following eight weeks that I spent at the campsite located in deep wilderness enabled me to meet so many different people and get into so many different situations that the lessons kept on coming in from every which direction. One of the most memorable lessons was that of patience. And getting better with being patient became Home in Canada almost my main mission while at camp. This was taken care of by the owner of the place, a man in his thirties, who tended to forget that there were jobs and chores around the territory that needed his attention, not to mention the people who worked at or visited the place. His escapism and, at times, outright inconsiderate behaviour were excellent for developing several self-disciplining practices in order to not get too upset. Racism was another issue that came up at camp. The area had once been a native settlement and there were several native reservations in the neighbourhood. Many natives came to the camp for ceremonial purposes or simply for a family holiday, but there were also plenty of white visitors who did not shy away from very explicit racist comments. Since Estonia is, despite our history and current trends, still a very monocultural society, this multiculturalism, or rather the lack of appreciation for diversity, was something that made me wonder and question whether the West truly is as well-advanced and progressive as it had always been portrayed. Handling being alone in the middle of nowhere was, perhaps, the greatest challenge of all. I was left all alone, surrounded by mountains, bears (one of whom I actually happened to meet up close), cougars and wolves, for several consecutive days on more than one occasion. This really made me appreciate the existence of civilisation and, no less importantly, technology, which could at least connect me to the outside world. Or, if nothing more, enable me to listen to pre-recorded voices that gave me the illusion of company. Language-wise, getting the chance to work side-by-side with other volunteers who came from the UK was like a gift. I had feared a bit that going to Canada would result in my language being influenced by an abundance of Canadian words and sayings but, in reality, I spent so much time with the British that I ended up learning new British ways of saying things instead. The lesson, however, was in acting as an intermediary between the two native English speaker groups. For instance, when the British used the word ‘torch’ to speak about a flashlight, they needed to be reminded that this was a word not be used in this sense in Canada. All in all, since I spent almost half of my time in Canada in Alberta, I began to appreciate its educational charm. My views of the world kept changing and I kept on learning something new about myself every step of the way but there was always this one thing that was constant – the supervising stare of the mountains. Those mountains around my ‘home for two months’ were terrifying and glorious at the same time. And for that, I started missing Alberta the second the plane that was to take me back to Europe took flight.
Helin Haga on Sulphur Mountain 29
PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO SEE: SOME NEW PARKS IN NEW YORK CITY Julia Hirsch
Professor Emerita Brooklyn College, New York City University
Cities undergo reinvention: think of Haussman’s Paris or L’Enfant’s Washington, D.C. Tallinn, too, has changed over the years: the last time I visited, in 2006, I couldn’t find some of the old winding streets near Stockmann’s and marveled at some of the huge new glass-faced edifices that sparkled around Viru. In New York and London, the cites I know best, decrepit parts of town continue to be torn down or rebuilt, factories have become museums (the Tate Modern being an old power station, or the Dia Beacon in Beacon, New York, an old Nabisco factory) and churches become apartment buildings. A similar recasting of use and function is shaping New York’s “greenspaces,” a trendy current term for what used to be called parks. With the shipping industry moving away to other ports, and the commerce of ocean travel drastically reduced, most of the piers which once edged the western coast of Manhattan, along the Hudson River, deteriorated, and, starting about twenty years ago, began to draw the attention of local citizen groups, civic leaders, elected officials, architects and urban planners eager to find ways to transform the defunct into the viable. One of the first such ventures was the re-creation of Chelsea Piers, a huge, thirty acre (about 12.5 hectares) “sports and entertainment complex” built on a site of the same name where the elegant ocean liners of the Cunard Line and the White Star Line had once berthed. Today’s Chelsea Piers includes facilities for basketball, golf, bowling, ice skating and rock climbing and there is even a “maritime center,” where one can enjoy canoeing and kayaking. As soon as one leaves Chelsea Piers, one can make one’s way along the Waterfront Greenway, a path of fifty-one miles that runs from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan to Dyckman Street at its northernmost edge. Today, the Greenway, which contains subsets of parks such as Hudson River Park, includes older shade trees and grassy slopes that have survived from previous incarnations of the park, as well as basketball courts, children’s playgrounds, and bicycle paths: on a pleasant day in any season the area is full of health-conscious New Yorkers walking, riding, jogging, or exercising their dogs in one of the specially designated “dog runs.” (These are designated parts of a park where dogs can run off the lead. They are of great importance to urban dog owners who lack gardens or other outdoor expanses where their pets can get sufficient exercise. See About.com, Manhattan, NY.) Considerable development on the West Side of Manhattan was spurred by an extraordinary event. On a bright and chilly day in 1973, a large chunk of an elevated part of the West Side Highway, also known as NY Route 9, crashed to the street below. This event set in motion a great deal of discussion, assessment, dreaming, and planning of what was to be done about the highway, now sporting a huge hole. Although the reconstruction of the road took many years, it altered the way traffic flows in the north-south direction adjacent to the Hudson River and offered unobstructed views of the Jersey Shore, the George Washington Bridge, and, on a sunny mild day, yacht, motor boat and sailboat traffic up and down the river. ((Note: The network of projects spun out of this event coincided in part with the demise of the Penn Central Railroad, which, in turn, set in motion alternate and sometimes competing plans. An overview of the projects for the western midsection of Manhattan, many at odds with each other, and some, associated with Donald Trump, can be glimpsed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riverside_ South_(New_York_City) Coincidental to the “crash” of the West Side Highway, a roadway which had been in poor repair for many years, another evolution was taking place a short distance away. The Meatpack District around Gansevoort Street south of 14th Street, once the hub of various small industries, including the one that 30
gave the area its name, was experiencing a decline. As a result an elevated freight train line which carried meat, produce and other goods from the docks to factories and warehouses a mile or so north was closed down in 1980. The abandoned rail line, sprouting grasses and wild flowers, drew hikers and adventurers. But all around it, industrial sites were being abandoned and gradually the area attracted drug dealing and the sex trade. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meatpacking_District_Manhattan 9/17/12). In 1999 a private organization dedicated to preserving the rail line entered into an agreement with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation: and High Line as we know it today began its slow birth. (Some of this history is told in a brochure distributed at High Line, but a full history and many photographs of the site can be seen at http://www.thehighline.org. High Line, two-thirds complete, is today one of the most original and popular “parks” in New York City, but in most respects it is unlike any other. It has no lawns, no shade trees, no artificial lakes, no romantic groves. In other words it’s nothing like Central Park or Prospect Park. It’s an original, designed by three architects, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, under the auspices of the firm of James Corner Fields Operations, who have also redesigned New York’s Lincoln Center and Juilliard School of Music. As noted by Martin Filley in “The City’s Their Stage,” a review of three recent publications about the architects, the signature feature of Diller, Scofidio and Renfro is their awareness of the people who move through High Line Fingers of Grass and around the structures they build and the spaces these structures occupy. Filley describes the trio as “socially attuned” and observes that the “architects’ encouragement of people-watching emanates from their canny understanding that seeing and being seen—voyeurism and exhibitionism, as you will—are central to the civic transaction” (New York Review of Books, vol. LIX, no. 14 [September 27, 2012], 32).1 People-watching is very much part of the delight of High Line; it offers ample seating space in the form of chairs, lounges, and benches, each type of furniture accommodating one, two or more sitters at a time. Most “social” of all are the bleachers which face a huge window from which one can watch the avenue below; the effect, as noted by Filley, is that of “footage from a Martin Scorsese film that establishes place” (NYR, 30). The social aspect of High Line is further promoted by its relatively narrow width; most of it is about one-quarter the breadth of a typical New York City block, a space that makes encounters with others inevitable.2 Interestingly, High Line closes at 10p.m. Aside from its elevated location allowing one to look over the city, High Line also features uncommon foliage and plantings, especially tall grasses which sway in the breeze, wild flowers such as black-eyed susans and Queen Anne’s lace, and a variety of stocky shrubs. These have been chosen and placed by Piet Oudolf, a Dutch landscape architect interested in using indigenous plants. According to the High Line’s own Website, Oudulf also wanted his design “to echo the wild, self-seeded landscape that grew up on the structure after the trains stopped running” (High Line publicity brochure). Between 14th and 15th Street, a stretch of High Line offers an opportunity to refresh one’s bare feet in a rectangular ribbon of flowing water: the map of High Line calls this space the Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck and Water Feature. Two covered areas where vendors sell snacks and “Friends of High Line,” solicit membership in their non-profit organization which helps maintain the park, offer shade and sometimes serve as exhibition or performance space. In one of them, a huge installation by Spencer Glass, made of pieces of glass of different hues, represents The River That Flows Both Ways (2009), a tribute to the Hudson River. Ironically, an article in the New York Daily News reports that the Standard Hotel which faces High Line has installed black curtains in its restrooms which faced High Line because strollers along the walkway were looking in. While the manager claims that the absence of curtains was a temporary measure during some renovations, one hotel patron lamented their restoration; he evidently enjoyed being on display. See http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/standard-hotel-installs-blackcurtains-restooms. . . . 9/15/2012. 2 The most common block size in Manhattan is about 80m wide and 270m long. See http://en..wikipedia.org/wiki/City_ block. 9/15/2012. 1
High Line is not yet completed but its impact is at once the effect and cause of the new, gentrified, face of the Western edge of Manhattan south of 14th Street. While the area is still called The Meatpacking District, it is now a hub of art galleries, trendy boutiques, an elegant hotel, and high-end restaurants; in 2007 the entire neighborhood was designated as the Gansevoort Market Historical District. A new branch of the Whitney Museum is currently under construction and on a visit to the site at the end of August, the southern tip was abuzz with the sounds of drills and bulldozers. But that roar does not discourage visitors who eagerly climb up and down the iron stairs that take them from street level to the walkway itself; or else take the elevators located at 14th Street and 18th Street.
Another park that is still under construction but already offers ample opportunities for recreation as well as people-watching is Brooklyn Bridge Park, a park that forms at the foot of Old Fulton Street, adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge, stretches beneath the iconic Promenade, and runs along the East River for over a mile. Like High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park makes use of a decayed site; like Chelsea Piers, the site consists of a string of abandoned piers which have been dismantled. The website for Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has not yet been completed, describes it as “an 85-acre post-industrial waterfront site ... along Brooklyn Bridge’s East River edge,” (http://www. brooklynbridgepark.org/the-park) but this hardly does the park justice. Like High Line, it has something for all ages and capacities; there is a “dog-free” lawn for small children and sunbathers, a swimming pool, and a kayaking basin as well as room for cyclists, joggers and strollers. Various entrepreneurs sell snacks, wine and ice cream. Most delightful of all are the benches, and small tables and chairs which face the East River and offer a grand view of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island and Ellis Island. Commercial boats that dock at two different locations in the park can take one across to Manhattan. A boat also travels to Governor’s Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park the former headquarters of the Coast Guard, which opened to visitors in 2011. With its tree-lined avenues, grassy squares, large fields suitable to ball playing and to picnics, the Island, under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, is open between April and October. It’s car-free making it welcoming to walkers, especially those accompanied by toddlers and small children or the wheel-chair bound, picnickers and cyclists, all of whom need have no fear of being run over. Development of more extensive recreational opportunities is underway. For a great many years, New York seemed to be a city indifferent to the beauty and drama of its waterways. Governor’s Island, High Line and the Brooklyn Bridge Park mark a complete and welcome change to that old habit. Although High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park constitute the newest and most original of New York parks, the city continues to maintain numerous traditional parks both large, such as Central and Prospect Parks, Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Park, and small, such as Sheridan Square Park. Madison Square Park, Tomkins Square Park, and Washington Square Park. These parks, however, are prone to distress, as old trees need pruning, cutting down or replacement, grass needs mowing or reseeding, benches need replacement due to weathering or vandalism, and flower beds need weeding, watering and seasonal replanting. In contrast, High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park have been designed to get around some of these cares. Their plantings and surfaces can withstand the extremes of drought, baking sun, and torrential rains that have been prevalent the past few years; the shallow streams sustain various water plants which can’t be hurt by downpours, shrubs, less vulnerable to severe storms, take precedence over large trees. In Brooklyn Bridge Park, hillocks have been created to give the landscape some variety, 32
and a set of bleacher-like steps leading nowhere except down again can be used for aerobic exercise, or as a place to sit and watch the world go by. The originality of High Line and the Brooklyn Bridge Park is reflected in two fairly recent exhibitions. In 2010, the Museum of Modern Art showed the designs created by five teams of planners, architects, and engineers for projects that would respond to climatological change, especially a drastic rise in water level that may occur within the next century. The exhibition was called “Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterways”; some information can still be gleaned about the exhibition and the designs from the Museum’s web site.3 What was repeated again and again in the designs was the creation of more recreational spaces that made use of water and reclaimed land. A similar concept is evident in an exhibition with a much more limited focus currently on view at the Museum of the City of New York. Titled “Re-imagining the Waterfront,” the exhibition shows the outcome of an international competition to rebuild the Esplanade, a walkway which runs along the East River, at the opposite edge of Manhattan from the Hudson (once called the West) River, and adjacent to the very busy north-south roadway called the FDR Drive, and the Harlem River Drive. What was sought in the competition leading up to the exhibit was the “integration of the water front” into the everyday life of the neighborhood which includes the fashionable “Upper East Side” as well as more modest Harlem. Canals are conspicuous in many of the eight winning entries, while the design created by Joseph Wood and awarded first place uses filtered storm water, the kind that often clogs up municipal drains and causes basement flooding, to create canals that will water new farms, hence restoring “a missing ecology.” In the plans featured in the exhibit—the eight out of ninety-one submissions from twenty-four countries—weather-resistant materials and landfill are used. One of the explanatory notes that accompanies the exhibit also mentions that yet another Greenway, like the one on the west side of Manhattan, is being planned for the South Bronx, a part of the city which fifty years ago was notorious for crime and a degraded housing stock. The new concepts evident in High Line and Brooklyn Park Bridge, as well as the imaginative designs of some urban planners, represent a promise that, despite economic constraints and climactic challenges, New Yorkers will continue to find attractive places in which to relax and play. SOURCES Filler, Martin, “The City’s Their Stage,” The New York Review of Books, Vol. LIX, Number 14 (September 27, 2012), 30-34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meatpacking_District_Manhattan/ 9/17/2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riverside_South (New York City). 9/15/2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Side_Highway. 9/11/12/ http://www.brooklynbridge.org/the_park 9/15/20121. http://manhattan.about.com/of.citylife1/a/manhattandogrun.htm 9/15/2012. http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1031. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/Standard-hotel-installs-black-curtains_restrooms. . . . 9/15/2012
FÁILTE GO HÉIREANN! (Fall-cha guh hair-inn) Danica Kubi
Tartu Hugo Treffner Gymnasium
Such captivating yet puzzling words mean “Welcome to Ireland!“ in Irish. During the summer of 2012 I travelled around Ireland for forty-three days observing the local lifestyle and learning about the traditions and the language spoken in Ireland. Also, I received a Comenius grant from Lifelong Learning Programme and was able to attend a two-week course of “Keep Talking” in Cork, Ireland. One of the major aims of the course was to touch upon Irish issues, e.g. Irish education, history, Northern Ireland and Irish English. The following overview is based on what I observed during my trip as well as learnt in the course and from the discussions with the natives. I also did some background reading and the list of useful sources is given at the end. Although Ireland or Éire in Irish is known to be an English-speaking country, the role of the Irish language should not be underestimated, since it is an integral part of everyday life. According to the constitution everybody has the right to conduct business and run everyday errands in Irish. Although solely 100,000 people of the entire population speak Irish on a daily basis, all the information, e.g. signs, street names, documentation, etc. appear in two official languages, Irish and English. The Irish language is also a compulsory subject at school (from ages 5-18) and students have to take a Leaving Cert exam in Irish. Despite learning the language for nearly fourteen years, the majority of the population is unable to speak it. And this is thought to be the fault of the education system, in other words the teaching methodology was not effective enough in the past. The use of rote learning and a strong emphasis on grammar left no room for teaching how to speak. Now an active effort is being made to improve the teaching methodology. The Irish themselves, however, admit that knowing Irish is essential for preserving their national heritage. In order to remedy the situation, the Gaeltacht (geil-taht) summer camps programme was introduced. According to that, a child will spend three weeks over the summer months in the Gaeltacht, an Irish-speaking Signs in both Irish and English. On the region, mostly in the west of the country in Counties Donegal, way to Achill Island, Co Mayo Mayo, Galway and Kerry, in order to be totally immersed in the Irish language. These courses do not only provide students with the ability to improve their Irish skills but have proved to be useful vehicles for passing cultural traditions on to the next generation. There is a misconception that Irish is like English or at least that they sound similar. In order to dispel the myth, I will give an example of the name of the capital of the Republic. Dublin is an English version of the name, while the Irish equivalent is Baile Átha1 Cliath (bay-lye aw-ha cleeah) which means “town of the hurdled ford“. The beauty of the Irish language 1
Connemara, Co Galway, one of the Gaeltacht areas
The accent on ‘a’ is called “fáda” which means “long” and it sometimes alters the sound.
lies in its descriptive nature, which means that even proper names in Irish convey meaning. The majority of proper names in Ireland have anglicised versions and their Irish equivalents. For instance one of the most common surnames in Ireland is Murphy2. Its Irish equivalent is Ó Murchadha or Mac Murchaidh, which means „sea-warrior“. The prefix Ó originally means “grandson” and Mac “son”. The female surname replaces Ó/Mac with Ní, e.g. Ní Murchadha. An Irish person has the right to choose which form of the surname, either English, e.g. Murphy or Irish, e.g. Mac Murchaidh / Ní Murchaidh he or she prefers. This particular form will be officially declared Ghuagan Barra, Co Cork, one of the Irish-speaking to be the surname of this person and will be used in all villages documentation. A lot of first names are of Irish origin as well and they are rather popular. For instance, boys names, such as Eoin (o-in), Seán (shawn), Donnchadh (dunn-uh-kh), Ciarán (keer-awn), to name just a few, and girls names, such as Aoife (ii-fa), (ee-fah), Siobhan (shi-VAUN), Niamh (nee-av), Saoirse (seer-sha) may cause some pronunciation problems for foreigners. As signs of national heritage, a lot of place and personal names are rooted in Irish. Although the majority of names that are in common usage are anglicised versions of Irish names, being able to pronounce them correctly requires some knowledge of Irish phonology.
The sign “Give Way“/“Yield“ on Inismore, the biggest of the Aran Islands, Co Galway, which is one of the Gaeltacht regions
In addition to proper names, there are some common nouns that are frequently used alongside English. Thus, in order to manage well enough in Ireland, one may need to know some Irish, and the knowledge of single words would be helpful too. Below is a short list of those Irish words that I encountered during my trip. Before going to Ireland, memorise the list, and believe me, locals will be more than impressed!
IRISH FOR BEGINNERS: GLOSSARY • An lár (on larr) – city centre • Bodhrán (BOW-rawn) – Irish frame drum • Fáilte! (fawlt-cha) (FAWL-te) – Welcome! Céad Mile Fáilte (kayd meela fawlt-cha) – A hundred thousand welcomes! • Fir/Mna – Gents/Ladies • Garda, gardaí (pl) (gar-di), police; Garda Síochána na hÉireann (GAR-dah shee-oh-CAHN-nah ne hee-rion) – Irish for “Guard of the Peace of Ireland” • Poblacht na héireann (publa na herin) – The Republic of Ireland • Sláinte! (SLAWNT-ye) (slain-cheh) – health/Cheers! • Slán! (slawn) – Goodbye! Bye! Slán go foill (slawn guh foh) - Bye for now! • Uachtarán na hÉireann (UHK-tuhr-AW-in) – The President of Ireland • Taoiseach3 (TEE-shock) – The Prime Minister Pronunciation transcripts attempt to give a rough idea of what the word sounds like. However, like in 2 3
Irish names [http://www.ireland-information.com/heraldichall/irishsurnames.htm] The Governmental terminology is more commonly used in Irish.
the case of any language, the pronunciation varies considerably from region to region and therefore other variations are possible too. I based the pronunciation on the forms I heard. The Irish language is just one aspect of what there is to experience in Ireland. Another matter which captures the attention of any English teacher is Irish English or also known as Hiberno4-English. The term Hiberno-English is used to refer to the standard language spoken in Ireland and it illustrates what the relationship between the two languages is (Dolan 1999). The Irish language has had a profound impact on English and therefore the latter is unlike British English, especially in regards to pronunciation and phraseology. Some of the grammar features of Irish are also incorporated into the English sentences, making it typically Hiberno-English5. Irish English varies a lot regionally and some of the accents are quite challenging. This is mostly so because of the speed. People generally speak quickly and in some areas they tend to stretch words and drop the final sounds. This combined with speed makes comprehension difficult. Also, changes in tone, stress pattern and intonation may cause some problems for non-native speakers6. The first noticeable feature of Irish English is /r/, which is pronounced and emphasised in all positions, even before consonants, unlike in RP, making this English variety rhotic. For instance, in such words as morning, form, car park, green garden, are, regardless etc. /r/ is pronounced in each word regardless of its position. Based on my observations, the quality of /r/ varies a lot within the country affecting the sound of surrounding vowels. The first sound of a word /th/ is not pronounced as a voiceless sound /θ/ but as a dental plosive /t/ or sometimes /d/; for example, thirty things [tə:tɪ tɪngz], thanks [tænks], this [tɪs], that [dæt], the [də], thought [tɔ:t] sounds like taught, three trees like tree trees [tri: tri:z], etc. In Co Clare the sound /h/ in such combinations as /wh/ is pronounced. Thus, words like what [whɒt] and why [whaɪ] are pronounced with an emphasised /h/. Sometimes words without the letter h are still pronounced with an added /h/, e.g. wee [whi:]. The final /t/ is aspirated in Irish English. In such words as but [bɒth], feet [fi:th], sit [sɪth], right [raɪth], what [whɒth]/[wɒth], out [aʊth]/[æʊth], etc. the /t/ sounds like /th/. To put it bluntly, this sound can be achieved if one tries to speak English slightly sloppily. In addition, the nasal sound /ŋ/ in -ing combination, e.g. starting [sta:rtɪn], doing [du:ɪn], etc. is pronounced /n/ rather than /ŋ/. The vocal sound /ʌ/ in lovely, fun, pub, Dublin, etc. is not pronounced as an open /ʌ/ in Irish English. Instead those words sound more like [lɒvlɪ], [fɒn], [pɒb] and [dɒblɪn] or [dʊblɪn] depending on the region. Once again, the variations are remarkable, but those examples are based on the forms that I heard. Moreover, The RP sound /əʊ/ in know, no, so, go etc. sounds like /ɔ:/, giving such variants as [nɔ:], [sɔ:], [gɔ:]. The few phonetic aspects discussed above are just one characteristic that makes Irish English unique. Another captivating feature is phraseology, especially because some words are only typical of this variety. Therefore knowing the “local” meaning of the words and phrases is important to be able to successfully participate in the conversation.
An example of good Irish English The Latin name for Ireland is Hibernia and the prefix Hiberno- is derived from that word to refer to all things related to Ireland (Dolan 1999:xix). 5 Irish accent [http://html.rincondelvago.com/irish-accent.html] 6 Ibid 4
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
IRISH ENGLISH FOR BEGINNERS: GLOSSARY
bags – plenty, e.g. I’ve got bags of stuff. bold – naughty, e.g. Stop being so bold. Brogue – the Irish way of speaking English, Irish accent. brutal – terrible, e.g. The weather is brutal today. colleen – girl; colleen is an anglicised version of the Irish word cailín, e.g. She is a nice little colleen. deadly – very cool, extremely good, e.g. The football match was deadly. galore – plenty, in abundance, e.g. at a fruit market: We have vegetables galore, great prices. There is snow galore outside. This is one of the few words of Irish origin that have made their way into Standard English. jackeen – Dubliner, e.g. I’m fed up of that jackeen calling me names. jacks – toilet, e.g. I need to go to the jacks. jaded – tired/sleepy, e.g. I don’t think I will come out, I’m jaded. knackered – really tired, e.g. I had a really hard day at work, I’m knackered. wee – little or small, e.g. Would you like some milk in your tea? Just a wee bit, thank you. yer wan/man – the woman/the man I’m referring to. yoke – thing, e.g. Could you pass that yoke over to me, please? craic – fun gas – very good, good grand – fine
Some of the words mentioned are used in greetings and everyday small talk, which can be incomprehensible, yet amusing to an outsider. Here is a list of most popular greetings: • What’s the craic? [kræk] / How’s the craic? Irish people like to talk about craic. If you are asked How’s the craic?, then you have a choice of answers. Choose either Mighty! (very good), Gas! (good), Poor! (bad), Useless! (very bad) (Hayes 2012). Craic is everywhere. In Dingle town, Co Kerry • How’s things? [tɪngz] • How’s the form? [fɔ:rm] • How’s a goin’ head? Alright head? (used in Dublin) • How’re ye keepin’? (ye [ji:] – is used for the plural form of “you“) If you are well, then the most suitable answer would be: • I’m grand! / Grand! • Not too bad! • Things could be a lot of worse! Below there are some useful phrases for a successful conversation with an Irishman. • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
IRISH ENGLISH FOR BEGINNERS: PHRASEOLOGY
Are you startin’? – Are you looking for a fight? Cmereawantcha. – I would like to impart some news/information/gossip to you. Gerrupdeyard! – Get lost! Go way outta that! – That’s unbelievable! Have a gander at that! – Look at that! Horse it into ye. – Consume that alcohol/food rapidly. It was gas craic. – It was great fun. Lose the head. – Lose one’s temper. Miss by a gee hair. – Miss by a very narrow margin. Off me face. – Drunk, e.g. I was off me [mɪ] face last night. Only coddin’. – Only joking, teasing. Sound as a pound. – Very reliable. Up to ninety. – Busy, e.g. Jaysus, I’m up to ninety! What are you gawking at? - What are you looking at? The feckin’ book of Irish Sayings. 2005. O’Briens
The following text Have a craic at the lingo yourself!, discussed in the Cork English World course “Keep Talking”, is the final challenge in an attempt to master Irish English. Some attention could be paid to grammar too. HAVE A CRAIC AT THE LINGO YOURSELF! And now for a more light-hearted look at some of the more colourful phrases. Read the text and match the words in bold with their meaning. That’s Sean for you. Never serious, always acting the maggot (1). Sure the other day he tried to fix the television. He’d broken it last week. Completely banjaxed (2) it was. Anyway, off he goes with his hammer and of course makes a complete hames of it (3). I walk in and he lets on (4) everything’s grand. Sure I leave him to his foostering (5) about and go out to get the messages (6). And who do I meet out there but that oul eejit (7) Mrs. Murphy. Sure you know the one I mean – always giving out (8). Sure God help her, she’s not the full shilling (9). Anyway, she’s in a desperate state (10) and starts eating the head off me (11). Well, says I, Mrs. Murphy, what’s the trouble? It’s your Sean, she screams back. Last night, langered (12) he was. Running about town with those culchies (13) just come up for the fair. Well, says I, we’ll see about that. Off I go home. That gom (14) had gone and made a holy show (15) of us once too often. I open the door. He opens his gob (16). Don’t give me any of your guff (17), my boy. What are you talking about mam?, says he. I look around. The place is immaculate and the telly’s fixed. I tell him what happened. He puts his arm around me and says, you know ma, she’s only slagging (18).
an old idiot rural people a bit mad mouth spectacle shopping
Now you’re talking!
behaving foolishly attacking verbally avoiding the task makes a mess pretends making fun
in a bad condition broken scolding idle talk drunk stupid fool
My holiday in Ireland was deadly. Despite the fact that the weather was at times brutal, I enjoyed mighty craic, fabulous music, the hospitality of local people, the beauty of the landscape, the enchanting nature of Irish English and much much more. In order to experience all that you should go to Ireland – the Isle of Saints and Scholars, especially because only there one’s Irish English skills can be put into practice. Fáilte go hÉireann!
A gift from Estonia to Ireland on the occasion of Estonia’s accession to European Union, May 2004. The replica of the monument to Wilde and Vilde in Galway town, which is Tartu’s sister town.
REFERENCES AND USEFUL READING • Dolan, Terence Patrick. 1999. A Dictionary of Hiberno-English. The Irish Use of English. Gill & Macmillan • Hayes, Tadhg. 2012. Gift of the Gab. The Irish Conversation Guide. O’Brien • Irish accent [http://html.rincondelvago.com/irish-accent.html] • Irish culture and customs. Bunús na Gaeilge - Basic Irish Language. [http://www. irishcultureandcustoms.com/3Focloir/Written.html] • Irish Language and Culture. 2007. Lonely Planet • Irish names. The origin of Irish family names [http://www.ireland-information.com/heraldichall/ irishsurnames.htm] • MacHale, Des. 2010. Irish signs and notices. Mercier Press • More Overheard in Dublin. 2008. Gill & Macmillan • Murpy & O’Dea. 2009. The book of fekin’ Irish trivia.O’Brien • Share, Bernard. 2008. Slanguage. A Dictionary of Irish slang and colloquial English in Ireland. Gill & Macmillan • The feckin’ book of Irish Sayings for when you go on the batter with a shower of savages. 2005. O’Brien KEY to Have a craic at the lingo yourself! 1. behaving foolishly 2. broken 3. makes a mess 4. pretends 5. avoiding the task 6. shopping
7. an old idiot 8. scolding 9. a bit mad 10. in a bad condition 11. attacking verbally 12 . drunk
13. rural people 14. stupid fool 15. spectacle 16. mouth 17. idle talk 18. making fun
Irish sign posts, written both in Irish and English.
Lady’s View in Killarney, Co Kerry. The spot derives its name from the pleasure expressed by Victoria’s Ladies-in-Waiting on their visit in 1861. Achill Island, Co Mayo. 39
REPORT: MY MANCHESTER IN A NUTSHELL Merike Kaus
Aim: Dissemination Source: Study trip to Manchester – a visit to a school and a conference for foreign language teachers, 28 March – 1 April 2012 Status of the author: a thankful participant 1. MANCHESTER: a very superficial impression based on just a couple of brisk walks in the city centre Being far from touristy, England’s biggest industrial city Manchester is the most suitable city for holding a conference. When, on your first brief attempt of getting to know what the city feels like, you have discovered yourself walking around an endless brick wall of the Arndale Centre in the middle of the city, the only place you want to be during a conference is the conference. Bill Bryson is not exaggerating much in his Notes from a Small Island when he calls Manchester’s streets ’curiously indistinguishable’ and describes the above-mentioned shopping centre as ’just 25 acres of deadness, a massive impediment to anyone trying to walk through the heart of the city’, looking like ’the world’s largest gents’ lavatory’. Well, I guess the architects’ defence would rely on the idea that shopping centres are designed to be inspected from inside rather than outside. The only shopping I enjoy, though, is window shopping for words, like the ’gift’ I found for my son: If at first you don’t succeed, do it like your mother told you; and the set of rules for my friend’s brand new kitchen: If you empty it – fill it, if you dirty it – clean it, if you open it – close it, if you spill it – wipe it up, if you Manchester city centre cook it – share it. A destination one might want to head to in England in early spring could be a park. The map easily led us to Piccadilly Gardens, which, in fact, consisted of a fountain surrounded by a small patch of what might have been a lawn but couldn’t be seen as it was fully covered with people just sitting there, i.e. hanging around. Not even close to my deep impression of spacious well-kept parks in London. 2. CONFERENCE: the website, a suggestion, an idea The website www.all-languages.org.uk/events/ language-world is worth visiting to get acquainted Piccadilly Gardens with ALL (the Association for Language Learning), the UK’s major subject association for teachers of foreign languages, as well as its main annual event Language World Conference. This year it took place on 30–31 March and was called Languages for 40
all – defining today, transforming tomorrow. Many workshops, talks as well as Show and Tell sessions can be followed via presentations and handouts. One of the major worries, touched upon by many speakers, was the need to make languages a compulsory subject once more at Key Stage 4, and to start language learning in primary schools from Year 5 or earlier. Scandinavian countries, where students start learning a foreign language at an early age, were given as a positive example. While Germans read 60 % of books in translation, the figure for the Brits would be 3 %, illustrating how much the ’lost generation’ of Brits (three quarters of students do not learn a foreign language) misses out. For me one of the most refreshing experiences at the conference was a major talk titled Head to head, where Rosie Goldsmith, a journalist specialising in arts and current affairs, was interviewing Larry Lamb, an actor and a very emotional supporter of immersion as a very effective way of learning a language. Just between all the PowerPoint presentations it was so … alive. I really enjoyed concentrating on the richness of English. Hence a suggestion for EATE conferences – why not try the interview form for a change, e.g. inviting interesting native speakers living and working in Estonia and having them interviewed by a native speaker. Another idea could be organising a panel discussion about the future of the National Exam with all the specialists and decision makers from the Ministry of Education. This could very well be held in Estonian. The topics covered at the Manchester conference panel debate (Future perfect? A debate on the challenges ahead for languages education) were relevant to the situation in Estonia as well – the intimidating effect of league tables; the danger of students losing interest in languages when they change school and find themselves either on a much higher or much lower level than the rest of the group; the constant pressure on teachers to make languages popular (what about making them normal!); the need to know one foreign language well (to have a passport to a broader life) vs having some knowledge of many languages. 3. SCHOOL: a confusion, a recommendation, a but As much as I enjoyed taking part in workshops, thinking together with lecturers, communicating with the friendly PR people of various companies advertising their goods and services, and listening to the long witty speeches at the receptions and the conference dinner, the highlight of the study-trip was our visit to a school. An interesting confusion for me was the terminology concerning school types: the school we visited, Trinity Church of England High School, is meant for students aged 11 to 16. Let’s compare the reality with the entries of different dictionaries. The first meaning, of course, is the American one, but the second meaning for ’high school’ in *macmillandictionary.com: in the U.K., a school for children between the ages of 11 and 18; *dictionary.cambridge.org: in the UK and Australia, sometimes used in the names of schools for children aged from 11 to 18; *oxforddictionaries.com: (in the UK except Scotland) used chiefly in names of grammar schools or independent fee-paying secondary schools, or for the lower years of a secondary school. Luckily we can always check the homepages of schools these days, but knowing everything about something as basic as school types will never happen. Trinity CE High School is a Christian school receiving students from over 90 primary schools. Other faiths are acceptable, too, as long as at least one of the parents or guardians is in regular attendance at a place of worship. We had a chance to take part in Passion Eucharist, an Easter service. It was a voluntary event for students where they were reminded of the true meaning of Easter in a very pleasant manner. Everything that was said or sung or done could easily be followed on a big screen. E.g., no one 41
was forced to take part in Holy Communion; there were three choices for the students: either come forward for the bread and wine, pray, or just sit and reflect. At one point all the students mingled to shake hands and wish each other ‘Peace be with you’. During the whole ceremony I couldn’t but think that this is religious studies in the service of teaching values. We also had an opportunity to observe a lesson. The Year 10 English class for English children was structured quite similarly to our foreign language classes. The topic was giving instructions/giving advice and the text the teacher used as an example was Conservative Britain: students writing lines for ‘Wear sunscreen’ by Mary Smith, a column published punishment in 2012 in Chicago Tribune, 1997. I immediately liked it, and in my mind I had just come up with the first idea what to do with the text with my students, when the teacher made the students do exactly the same activity in groups. I truly recommend anyone keen on a good text to look it up. You can find different youtube versions of Baz Luhrmann’s music single (released in 1999) as well, e.g. everybody’s free to wear sunscreen-Baz Luhrmann has the text on the screen, but The Sunscreen Song Baz Luhrmann (Must Watch – Motivational song) has a video. Trinity CE High School aims to provide an environment in which young people are safe, secure, cared for and happy. This was exactly the impression I got during the whole visit to the school. Before their arrival in Year 7, students will have visited the school on several occasions. We popped into many classes; the atmosphere was warm and safe wherever we went. We saw a very small group of special needs students learning Spanish via a lively game. A teacher tapping the basket so that a visually impaired student could play basketball was a good example of the noble principle of inclusiveness put into practice. The teacher guiding us stopped every student wandering around the corridors during lessons to make sure they were on their way to the classroom.
In fact, there was only one but that made me wonder after the visit. The schoolhouse was very well equipped (every classroom had a smart board), and with the exception of P.E. and technology classes, all the rooms had curtains drawn and the projector switched on. I’m sure it was well planned and very effective use of modern technology (and I witnessed it myself in the English class I observed), but it made me wonder what effect it would have on children’s health in the long run if most of the studying nowadays happens in a dimly-lit classroom, eyes on the screen. THANKS My sincere thanks to kind organisers in EATE for sharing the information and in INNOVE for organising the study trip, for liking my application and for making it an unforgettable experience.
Teachers’ Teacher KRISTA VOGELBERG AS TEACHERS’ TEACHER
What is you star sign and do you think it has influenced you? For full disclosure, my star sign according to the Western System is Lion, while I was born in the year of the Goat/Lamb according to the Eastern one. That said, I honestly do not believe in astrology. As far as I know, Lions are supposed to be ambitious and proud. I have those elements in me, but so have a lot of non-Lions I know. I have been fairly ambitious throughout my life, but I honestly hope this does not define me, at least not fully. Things done for the sake of ambition alone tend to be self-defeating in the long run. Trying to answer this question, I spent quite a time looking for words that could perhaps define me and finally came up with “rebelliousness” and “non-conformism”. You finished Nõo Reaalgümnaasium. Why did you decide to take up English at the university? The real question is why I went to Nõo after completing the basic school – eight years at that time – in Tartu Miina Härma Gymnasium? One of my classmates did the same, others stayed behind. I still have very good relations with my former Miina Härma classmates and I really regretted I could not attend the latest class reunion. So why Nõo? I was interested in the sciences and had already won a few contests and olympiads in the field, so I was admitted without entrance examinations, indeed invited to the school. Yet I think rebelliousness was the main cause for the choice. I had heard from alumni that in Nõo the traditional hierarchical relationship between teachers and students, to which I found it increasingly difficult to conform, was virtually non-existent. This proved to be true: I found the teachers’ attitude more like that of older colleagues, and sometimes just friends. The atmosphere was one of freedom and mutual respect, forged by many small incidents that showed that teachers were never on the other side of the barrier. All of this was reinforced by their high professional level and enthusiasm, to which we responded with similar enthusiasm for learning – in all fields, not only just the sciences. Behind it all was Kalju Aigro – a miracle of a headmaster. As I said, Nõo encouraged all kinds of learning – which suited me extremely well. I did win olympiads in mathematics and physics in Estonia and once got a second prize at the all-Soviet-Union level, but I was also very interested in literature and languages. I had started to take private classes in French as early as the seventh form and carried on with these. I also had no intention to let my English go to seed. I found a private teacher whose English was near-native. It was during these classes that I really got interested in language teaching methodology – because I was free to work out my own methods. I used no textbooks – though I did read books such as Pride and Prejudice, Bertrand Russell’s essays, etc., kindly lent to me by my teacher. I wrote an essay for each class, on a subject of my own choice, 43
translated two pages from an Estonian book into English, and prepared a subject to talk with my teacher about during class. So I never retold texts written by other people but expressed my own ideas. All this meant a lot of work with dictionaries – and discovering, for instance, the existence of polysemy through the numerous errors that I made, tactfully corrected by my teacher. As a result of these methods I really got excited about learning languages. Essentially, what I discovered was the communicative approach though I did not know the term or indeed was not aware that such an approach already existed in the world! When the time came to choose the specialty for university studies, I was in a quandary. Finally, the Humanities won out. However, my subsequent research at the university had a substantial statistical side to it. I also got interested in philosophy, won two university-level olympiads in the subject, read Heidegger and Karl Marx, as well as King James’s Bible from cover to cover – so I never was a philologist pure and simple. This interest in many subjects has continued throughout my life and, I think, has a lot to do with rebelliousness and non-conformism – something in me refuses to be restricted to one discipline only, even though it might make my life easier. I still read books from many areas ranging from economy and sociology to film criticism. Fortunately students, and particularly doctoral students, at our department, including my own supervisees, now write theses that synthesise a number of disciplines, so reading, e.g., about neoliberalism and Keynesianism is not just a guilty pleasure any more. What do you read? I have partly answered this question already. I can add that I do read quite a lot of literature as well as watch films and listen to music (in addition to doing a fair amount of gardening). These are my guilty pleasures. Having translated books myself as well as taught translation theory, I know how much gets lost even in the best translations, so I prefer to read books in the original, which mainly restricts me to Estonian, English, French and Russian literature (my German is unfortunately somewhere between levels B1 and B2, which rules out enjoying literature). My latest discoveries in literature? Bulgakov’s White Guard, Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom, and a lot of John le Carré, who, I have realised, is not a genre author at all. He himself recently joked that somebody had told him critics had “upgraded” him! My all-time favourites: Shakespeare and Camus. And Astrid Lindgren! What do you remember about writing your Candidate’s dissertation? My supervisor was a professor in Moscow, so a lot of my time was spent there. The memories are pretty extreme: on the one hand, the power hierarchy in the university was nothing like I had ever come across before, or thought I would be able to tolerate. On the other, I made friends outside the university, mostly in semi-dissident circles, independent rebellious thinkers who I still think of as some of the best friends I ever had. A lot of them now work at universities abroad. With them, I spent many nights talking about literature, art, philosophy, music in those famous “Moscow kitchens” – which in a way provided me with my genuine post-graduate education. Meanwhile, the experience at the university gave me the first insights into intercultural differences and the resultant misunderstandings. I learned these the hard way, but I survived! In all fairness, though, through endless revisions required from the post-graduate students, I did teach myself to write logical structured texts. What do you remember of staging Hamlet? Have you been in contact with any members of the cast recently? Staging Hamlet with first-year students of English was one of the highlights of my years as a university teacher. In a way, it has a two-fold relation to rebelliousness. First, I loved Hamlet as a play about existentialist rebellion. In my interpretation (and I know there are hundreds of different ones), Hamlet has a clear conformist path before him – kill his uncle, get revenge for his father, become the new king – the kind of circle of murder and revenge that was the usual one in his time and indeed is the plot of the older play Shakespeare based his Hamlet on. But Hamlet, to me, is a rebel who refuses in principle to accept a world where such senseless gory circles are the norm. Also, reading Hamlet with first-year students of English (let alone staging it) went against all norms and violated the Moscow-approved curriculum. However, nobody complained – I was blessed with an 44
exceptionally bright and enthusiastic group of students. In fact, I initially introduced Hamlet alongside our regular textbook out of concern that they would not be challenged enough by the university, since all already had a very good command of English. The birth of the idea of staging the play was a result of pure improvisation. First, I simply asked the students to read different parts of Hamlet aloud. Then, in the process, I discovered that many students fitted certain roles exceptionally well, and the idea of a staging the play was born. The final production was for real, i.e. not the usual “student theatre” done for fun but a performance that genuinely moved the audiences. We worked at it up to two a.m. We have not had a special meeting of the cast, but the student who played Ophelia (and was a co-director of the play) is now a good colleague, and I often meet several other cast members. One of them has for many years been head of the Baltic branch of a successful global chemical giant and still insists her English (and partly Early Modern English) studies were her real education. Fortunately, we did not have rigidly formulated course outlines at that time; otherwise the improvisation I described would not have been possible. What would be your recommendations to 21st-century learners? In one of my favourite films, A Single Man, a student talks with his professor about experience. The student says something like, “There is all this talk about experience, as if it were a great thing,” to which the professor answers, “Nonsense. I have actually become sillier and sillier.” I feel that in admitting this, the professor is in fact at his wisest. But come to think of it, there is after all something I would like to convey to as many young people as possible: “Do not conform too much, do not let yourselves be exploited, never take your rights and your freedom for granted, do your own thinking for yourself.” Remember how Faust discovered, in his old age, “that only he deserves his life, his freedom, who wins them every day anew” – this is as true in the 21st century as in the 19th. Fortunately, there are students every year who already act as if somebody had given them the advice. These are the ones who make university teaching enjoyable, even in the mass university where I personally have long forgotten the privilege of teaching just twelve students as in the case of the “Hamlet group”. What has been the most exciting moment in your life / career? In my private life, without hesitation, the moment my son was born. This has not been trumped by any moments in my career, though there have been many exciting ones. Studying and working abroad has worked substantial changes in me. Smart students at every level, be it BA, MA or the doctoral studies, are always a delight. Since I like to work with people, supervising theses – around 30 research masters, and by now six doctoral theses, with at least four in the pipeline, has been one of the best parts of my work. Finally, I cannot send in the answers without emphasising that, all rebellion aside, there are scores of people in my life whom I have not mentioned here to whom I am genuinely grateful, including my teachers at Tartu University who worked against the grain to keep English alive throughout very hard times, my scientific advisors in Tartu, my colleagues, etc, etc. Krista Vogelberg was interviewed by EATE Committee members.
READING RECOMMENDATIONS MY ENGLAND LIKE A PIECE OF PATCHWORK Aet Sarv
teacher and lecturer of English
A while ago when doing some research on identity issues in the United Kingdom, I was pleasantly surprised when an original book and not a translation was published on England, in addition to the wealth of printed and digital material on the topic in English. As a teacher of English, I always try find ways to make students see the charm of the country. The series My... (Minu… ) by Petrone Print has been issuing recollections on a great range of countries for some time already. Among others, there is Anu Samarüütel-Long’s My London (Minu London, 2010) that gives a few fabulous glimpses of the capital of the United Kingdom. Last spring another publication on this neck of the wood, My England (Minu Inglismaa) by Ann Alari became available. It is not an easy task to give a comprehensive and holistic overview of Great Britain, or actually of any country in a single book, even if you have lived there for a long time. My England strikes as fragmentary, both timewise and eventwise, scattering bits and pieces here and there. The series, with its very subjective approach has definitely no intention of providing a perceptive insight, since every piece of work is a personal and emotional account. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, or a sort of a scrapbook that still lacks a lot of bits, with some pieces very intense, some rather unnecessary. For a person fascinated with England and the English, the book had some great moments of recognition although there was nothing completely new. However, there are bits that give a new perspective to previous knowledge. The reader will find out that: William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived a very ecologically minded and consciously green life at their time, very much in line with today’s trends; that swimming in the nature is regarded as an eccentricity (p.37), which makes me really pity the English; that mourning following Diana’s death can be compared to our Song Festival, as both of these events unite people in a similar way; that for a Londoner Northern England starts just 20 miles from the City of London; that animal welfare in the United Kingdom is much older than child welfare; that the English are not embarrassed to put a guest up in a child’s bedroom full of toys and other things, as the Estonians do; that shipping news sounds like poetry; that buildings influence people and connect countries, e.g. Liverpool Royal Liver Building has been the example for several buildings in New York and Moscow; that the English are very good at exhibiting their past, with the 46
example of Orient Express, perfect to the last detail (pp.111-120); that a place you expect to be a museum actually keeps up with times, which is one of the charms of England (p.198), and many more facts. The range of topics covered is wide: politics, trekking/hiking (very thorough), work, health care, everyday routine, food, pubs, media, changes in society, class system, royal family, differences between North and South, canals, supermarket chains, accent as a marker of identity, immigrants, homes and houses, the Romans, the BBC Proms, choirs and singing, sense of humour, etiquette, promenades, privacy. There is a colourful selection of people the author has come across, either personally or in connection with the history of a place, such as the artists Laurence Stephen Lowry and Dora Gordine, or the man of many jobs Nathaniel Hawthorne. Some regions of England have been given poetic and detailed insight such as Cornwall, the Lake District, Liverpool, Wales, the Channel Islands, thus giving a traveller some valuable advice. However, the reader will also find some irrelevant information, like a work trip to St. Petersburg or other work-related duties outside the United Kingdom. At the same time, comparison of hoarding adverts in Moscow and London was interesting (p.31). Some directions to places were too detailed: when you do not know the region, many place names are rather unimpressive. On the other hand, as mentioned before, this can be very useful if you are planning a trip. Besides, an occasional seemingly out of place fact can expand knowledge gained earlier (e.g. burglary pp. 33-34), or being mistaken for a terrorist (p.36). I believe every reader has their own England, just as they have some other places. Each of us joins our own puzzle pieces together, and the more we have them, the more complete the insight will be, which
A FRESH GUST OF WIND Juta Hennoste
Tartu Karlova Gymnasium
I would like to recommend a new resource book I like immensely, â€“ by Tessa Woodward (Helbling Languages 2011). As teaching students think instead of learning dry facts has become an important issue, this book, in addition to encouraging thinking, also helps to build a positive class atmosphere using communicative exercises and ways of looking at things in unusual ways. The first asset of the book is its thorough introduction dealing with questions like What is thinking? What could it mean to be a better thinker? Is it possible to teach ways of thinking? What can busy teachers do to improve thinking in our own classes? etc. Thinking in the EFL Class is divided into seven chapters, starting with fundamental things that teachers can do to support their students when they think and learn and finishing with sharing ideas how teachers can administer tasks and activities to encourage thinking without forgetting the importance of general knowledge and interesting content. At the beginning of each chapter there are several teaching tips which are followed by various activities from elementary to upper-intermediate levels. There are over 85 practical, easy-to-use activities which involve minimal preparation and a wide range of interesting topics.
Chapter 1 looks at the basic things we need to cover in order to promote thinking in our classes. Chapter 2 gives a checklist that a teacher should think about before introducing a topic to the students; helping students to notice patterns, e.g. word order of sentences, text types, story genres, etc. and how to make it easier to memorise things. Chapter 3 focuses on what implications the ideas in the introduction and first two chapters of this book hold for our lesson planning. Chapter 4 is about how to use everyday ways of thinking in language lessons. Chapter 5 deals with the ways of getting better at being creative. Chapter 6 looks at what kind of texts we can use in our classes and how to get the maximum amount out of them. Chapter 7 looks at five principles that can be used with activities in course books and teachersâ€™ resource books. You can find freely downloadable handouts in PDF and DOC format at www.helblinglanguages.com/ thinking/downloads. The book itself can be ordered via Allecto. To provide you with an example, here is an activity from Chapter 4: Using Everyday Thinking Frameworks. 4.6 List poems Focus: Writing and reading. Grammatical structure depending on the poem frame (see below). Level: Elementary upwards Time: 20 minutes Materials/Preparation: You need the list poem below for students to read. In class: 1. Give students the list poem to read, and help them to understand it.
I love it when â€Ś I love it when people smile at me. I love it when music starts to play. I love it when dinner is ready. I love it when there is a sunny spot in the garden. I love it then. I love it then.
2. Ask students to write the title on a piece of paper and then to write four sentences starting with I love it when ... The sentences should be different from the ones in the poem above, and should be true about them. They should finish the poem with the final line as above. 3. Go around helping students with vocabulary and, if necessary, ideas. 4. When most students are ready, ask those who want to, to read their poems out loud.
Variations A Texts can be taken in, corrected and then read out loud by you while students try to guess who wrote them. B The poems can be displayed on a wall or collected on a class web page. Students can then read each other’s poems. C Any poem that has a title, a repeated grammatical structure and an ending can be used. There are many list poem sites on the internet. These could be interesting for students to read. D Other possible topics are: My brother/sister drives me crazy when s/he …, My best friend never …, Something I find interesting is … . Acknowledgement I first learned about list poems from Tsai and Feher (2004). Taken from: http://www.helblinglanguages.com/images/stories/book/thinking/list_poems.pdf Thinking in the EFL Class is a valuable source for every teacher who wants to make her lessons more enjoyable and teach something different from the everyday routine. Tessa Woodward is a teacher, teacher trainer and the professional development coordinator at Hilderstone College, UK. She is also the editor of Teacher Trainer Journal for Pilgrims and has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books, including Planning Lessons and Courses (Cambridge University Press) and Ways of Working with Teachers (TW Pubs). She was President of IATEFL from 2004 to 2007. I got acquainted with Tessa at the IATEFL 38th Annual Conference in Liverpool in 2004 as we were sitting at the same table at the Associates’ Day Dinner. She is a charming lady with sparkling eyes and a good sense of humour. At the dinner party people were asked to introduce themselves. Tessa: I’ve been teaching for a number of years and I’ve also written some books. A lady: What kind of books? Tessa: Well, like The North Wind and the Sun, The Wind in the Willows, Gone with the Wind...
If you want to know more about Tessa Woodward, you might also find these websites interesting: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/tessa-woodward/tessa-woodward-video-interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV07bQ8eWwU http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/tessa-woodward http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/tessa-woodward/tessa-woodward-biography
Come and Share 5C PROGRAM FOR THE YEAR – COOL DOWN, CARE, BE CREATIVE, COMMUNICATE, COOPERATE Margit Timakov
Tallinn Coeducational School
Who needs to be motivated at the beginning of a new school year? – Well, who doesn’t? Each one of us needs something to keep us going, whether just a short refreshing reminder of one’s inward strength and energy or an outward motivator. We as teachers need motivation to be continuously excited about our job and find strength and skill to motivate our students. Last year some of our colleagues used to get together and discuss various things that could facilitate our teaching – new methods to use in class, agreements to make, goals to set with students, etc.
The real problem with motivation, of course, is that everyone is looking for a single and simple answer. Teachers search for that one pedagogy that, when exercised, will make all students want to do their homework, come in for after-school help, and score well on their tests and report cards. Unfortunately, and realistically, motivating students yesterday, today, and tomorrow will never be a singular or simplistic process. (David Scheidecker and William Freeman 1999:117) Reading the quote above, I figured that this year I will try to remind myself on a daily (or weekly) basis of the following five aspects (five seems a good number at school and C a letter ready for change). Fortunately, we have the ability to develop and improve as teachers, and this in turn could also inspire our students. The crucial factor, of course, is our own desire – to analyse our work and if necessary, to do something in a different way. 1) Care. In order to be successful and happy in what we do, we should enjoy it. So, let us care about teaching, care about finding out new things about our subject, care about our students, care about ourselves. Sounds almost impossible? Actually, it does not. We should remember why we started our teaching career in the first place and if we are forgetting it already, we should better write it down. In addition, we should feel and show real interest in what our students do – in class, in school and elsewhere. If we are teaching only the curriculum, only the book and forget our students – their needs and desires, dreams and abilities – we are making it difficult not only for ourselves but especially for our students. Every once in a while we have to put everything else aside and take time for ourselves – read a book we like, go to the theatre, meet a friend, drive to the seaside, etc. 2) Cool down – let us not stress that much. Instead of being worried about being a perfect teacher, let us try to be understanding in a positive way. That does definitely not mean letting our students do whatever they want to, but it does mean that we take their opinion into account as well. If there are things that do not work for us, let us try something else; if we make a mistake – let us show our students that we are human as well, that making mistakes is all right, and that we are excited about learning more in our classes. That quality of being and remaining a learner is not only refreshing but also supportive and exemplary for our students.
3) be Creative. Teaching is science and art combined. We know what is expected and we are reminded of it each year during the final exam, but all of us have a different perspective, a different personality that affects our choices for textbooks we prefer, lesson plans we create, sites and tools we use. Besides, the textbook we use might not have either all the topics or tasks we need or there are other components involved like our students’ learning styles or habits, cancelled classes or extra ones for colleagues we should substitute for. It would be advisable to have at hand a collection of a) short activities for extra time or warm-up at the beginning of the class, b) fun games and other activities, c) reading texts on current topics, d) authentic listening materials, e) sites to consult and update our exercise-bank, f) jokes and wise quotes to elicit group or class discussions, etc. It would be even better if we could share them somehow, whether in our annual conferences or in summer school. 4) Communicate. We cannot read our students’ minds and neither can they read ours. We need to be as precise as possible in expressing our expectations and requirements for our course. When we feel sad or upset about something it would be nice to express ourselves in a polite yet straightforward way, thus teaching our youth to do the same. We need to be firm and loving at the same time – letting them know why we demand what we do and that we accept them as they are (with a look to the future of what they could become). 5) Cooperate. We cannot make our class exciting on our own; let us get the students involved. For example, creating rubrics mutually for grading monologues or essays can help students understand better at an early stage what is expected of them, which will hopefully help them perform better. Being collaborative and being able to work in a team is a required skill from all school-leavers – and teachers as well. That can be well practised in classroom situations. Besides students, we should also collaborate with our colleagues in our own school as well as in other schools in Estonia and abroad. That will motivate and strengthen us, open up new horizons and remind us of our dreams. ”There are no magic motivational buttons that can be pushed to “make” people want to learn, work hard, and act in a responsible manner. Similarly, no one can be directly “forced“ to care about something…. Facilitation, not control, should be the guiding idea in attempts to motivate humans.“ (Martin Ford 1992:202)
Quotes from Dörnyei Zoltán, Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 13, 25.
contains a wide variety of exercises on key grammar areas studied at A2 to B1 level with 80 pages of exercises in a rising level of difficulty provides grammar practice ideal for classroom use serves as self-study and revision material contains context-based full-text exercises includes examination-style multiple choice exercises
An answer key for the workbook is available on request.
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Andy Cowle enticing listeners after being stung by a wasp
EATE SUMMER SEMINAR Pärnu, 22–23 August 2012
Ursula Roosmaa, director of the Tallinn office of the British Council
Marika Nõmmiste, our long-time partner from Allecto
Philip Kerr spoke about the return of translation
Not enough seats at the presentations of most popular lecturers
Sirje Leppik helped out replacing the lectures who had been taken ill
AS Dialoog handing over prizes to lottery winners Photos by Reet Noorlaid