Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why use poems in class

Notes from Linda Yael's session yesterday

Why use poem
Linda Yael

Authentic content
Encourage students' personal reactions

Trigger students' own writing
General educational value

Deal with values

Give insights unto other cultures while increasing awareness if own

Use both sides of the brain

Motivating and enjoyable

Characteristics of poems
Focus on language eg vocabulary, intonation, stress, collocation

Can be dealt with one lesson and can be tied in with topics in syllabus

Deal w universal themes students can identify with

Poems by Wendy Cope
Robin Thurston

For young learners, use pictures. Eg lions are ___

The Veggie Lion (Spike Milligan)
I'm a vegetarian lion... 

Students can work in pairs

Oh homework, oh homework
I hate you! You stink! ( a teacher from Poland) 
- long version on presenter's ppt

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Notes on Richard Cauldwell's presentation on accent and identity

Notes on Richard Cauldwell's presentation on Accent and Identity: Prejudice and insecurity

Sonocent audio note taker

Accents, identity, change, variation
Insecurity and self-worth
Thriving with 

Prejudice: OALD, 8, an unreasonable dislike

Prejudice league table
Best- received pronunciation (RP)

Worst- Birmingham 

Prestige accent: BBC type of worry (A Lloyd James)

It is spoken by those who properly called the best people

If you want clarity- go to non standard accent

Prejudices: self-loathing, poor self-worth

Foreign language syndrome. Accent can change dramatically if you've got a stroke. 'losing accent. Losing identity.'

People change, accents change

Multiple accents, vary depending on who they're talking to

Prestige accent: embarrassment

John Wells's blog, BrE

Attainment Models? Target pronunciation? Richard's argument

Typical learner's problem: leave
Thriving in English

English as a lingua Franca (Jennifer Jenkins)

English is not ours
Reference models are very useful, but they are not what people speak
ELF movement can help us identify attainment model

ELF can remove the sense of poor self-worth

Final thoughts:
No such thing ad good accent
People are multi-accented

We are surrounded by voices od people who not speak the reference model- they thrive. 

Use prestige accent ad a reference model, not model/achievement target

Not as a measure of professional expertise

Notes from the AS Hornby Scholars' Presentation

AS Hornby educational Trust presenters
Teacher Development Language Proficiency

A. Confidence and language proficiency

Recognizing reality
A. pre-service
B. In-service

possible suggestions
Teacher training courses
Workshops and seminars
Prof devt courses

B. Teacher Motivation
Low level motivation- or no motivation at all

Poor motivation- leads to attrition

Causes of low motivation
1) Job context
-poor facilities eg no chalks etc
-teachers not considered in educational decision making process
- teachers are nit given professional autonomy

2) Job Content
- teacher and student ratio
-work load eg 36 hours of teaching per week

3) lack of incentives and poor salary
70£ per month
Poor socio economic situation

Realistic solutions
1) creative positive working environment

2) provide opportunities for continuous training
Enhance self-esteem
Update their skills

Implications fir teacher training and education

Trainers should be aware of these situations

C. Contextual Factors (Ramzi)
1. People involved- not aware of contextual realities

2. Objectives- not clear, realistic, and practical

3. Training
A. Content- emphasizing theories, ignoring practical implications
B. Timing- too short to achieve objectives
C. Trainers- not properly trained
d. Evaluation- no learning from previous experience

Effects if ignoring contextual factors

1. Cascade programs- trickle
2. Irrelevance- demotivation
3. Impracticality- lack of administrative support
4. Investment of time, money, and energy- wasted
5. Unrealized national curriculum objectives

1. Involve more stake holders in planning- teachers, training

2. Integration of planners and implementers

3. Post-training support

4. Readjustment and fine tuning based on feedback

5. Decentralization/localization 

Teacher Development: the Kerala model

Context: Kerala is a small state in India

Focus of the governments- time independence

A. General trend- infrastructure
B. Budget deficit 13.5%

English graduates teach English
A. New legislation in the 21st century

B. English teachers teach only in English

A. Secure job
B. Pensions after retirement
C. Salary increment at oar with inflation in addition to annual increment based on the existing scale of pay.

2. Teaching Organizations

3. Regular teacher development workshops
5 day annual workshops
Practicing teachers as resource persons

4. Resource Person development workshops

3-6 months training at Bangalore

Teachers support offered online- IT@Schoolproject
Eg subsidized laptop

Cluster meetings- teacher share
Avoid backwash from exams- teachers can test what is taught

Caveat of the method 
Not perfect
Practical issues


Fullan (1991) educational change depends on what teachers do and think. It is as simple and complex as that.

Notes from Peter Grundy's talk, IATEFL Plenary

Peter Grundy Plenary

Maximize content, 
Formulaic questions, obvious yes or no answer

What is language?
Communication? Answer to the question what is language for?

To communicate what precisely?

Meaning comes from the use of language; what we mean by our words; implications

Particularized understanding. Depending on context.

Type of inferences. Token understanding. 

Does your boyfriend know you're here?  The question asked if folks from Brighton go to a football match. (joke)

Pg: that's a nice pair
Lady: thank you

Pragmatics: contextual and cognitive effects

Inference and metarepresentation

Our thoughts are more precise than our words

Hedges: I think, probably, really, by the way

The phenomenon of speaking in the wrong language

What we want our learners to achieve?

Cognitive mapping?


L1-l2 w/o thought is translation

Meaning and humanistic approaches

Pragmatic competence

Receptive learning vs productive learning

Semantics- what words mean

Thought- unspoken though that we intend to communicate

Pedagogical implications if the two

Breadth, depth and context
Corpora and context
Dictionaries and metalinguistic explanations
E.g. Chinese writing system, the use of classifiers (fire, fo, huo)

Orientation to the properties of the public word

Utterance is an index for thought


Convention Center

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Click the link below to view (in PDF file) the IATEFL 2011 in Brighton conference programme. I had to squeeze my limited budget to attend this conference as a full participant- yes, first time ever. And I'd like to make the most out of it.

I'd love to meet colleagues and friends whom I've been interacting with online for the past several years but never had the opportunity to meet f2f. Now here's my chance :-)

Conference Programme: