SUMMER / 2014
In this issue:
1844 – 6159
Who of us hasn’t felt that pressure that students apply when they touch the
sensitive chord of “be a decent teacher”?
Whether they demand an extension of the assignment deadline, the delaying of
a test, turning a blind eye to truancy or even unmerited high grades/marks,
students often show great adeptness in convincing their teacher to bend
rules in their favour by simply inferring that, if the teacher had a kind
heart and a genuine interest in their welfare, if they cared at least as
much as other teachers did, they would give in to what seems to be a
reasonable request. But is it? And is it like that?
Naturally, students aren’t simply devious manipulators who should be fought
hard, though neither is it true that teachers should ignore all consistency
in evaluation and teach less only to be able to take the path of minimum
resistance by pleasing children’s laziness. The reality is that we,
teachers, measure our success by the degree of “client satisfaction”, just
like other service providers, but this may be viewed more or less wisely. It
may be fair to argue that, while we should always aim to get maximum student
satisfaction, we may want to plan ahead and use tact in order to minimize
the risk of students even getting in the situation where they feel compelled
to ask the “undoable”. Most importantly, communicating in order to share our
vision of professionalism and fairness is bound to make our students more
reasonable. And we might be just a little reasonable ourselves too when our
sense of professionalism is too much removed from what students can handle,
because getting their cooperation is, after all, paramount.
by Ovidiu Aniculăese,
Colegiul Naţional "A.T. Laurian", Botoşani
Films to Your Class. Ideas to Do It Better
by Georgeta Rarinca and Pollyanna Opris, Nicolae Balcescu High School,
Key Words: watching films, modern technique, video-feedback technique,
experience, creative energies, innovative teachers, film review
This article will tap onto teachers’ creative energies, using films as a
modern means in language teaching. Watching films is an attractive way of
learning how to deal with the latest techniques which arouse our students’
curiosity involving them in the process of acquiring a new language. The
article is based on the research conducted by the authors into the
development of materials especially designed for film-watching. The research
was prompted by the authors’ experience after viewing the film A Thousand
Words (2012) and offers stimulating and efficient practical activities for
English can be learned, practised and taught attractively and efficiently in
a variety of ways, viewing films included. By doing this, not only teachers
but also students enjoy the lesson as an entertaining activity during the
class, involving learners actively in a pleasant communicative activity.
Watching films can be more than a reward or relaxation after performing
demanding tasks during an English class. Films turn into stimulating and
interesting ways to help students practice authentic language in real-life
situations without even being aware of it. Julian Edge once said: “The more
students use their language skills for enjoyment, the more language ability
they are likely to acquire” and that is exactly what film watching will
eventually lead to.
The variety of exercises triggered by film-watching depends on the teacher’s
creativity and imagination alongside with his or her experience. “Appetite
comes with eating” so the more you watch, the more rewarding the activity
Films require a considerable amount of advance planning and thorough
preparation, but the benefits will be rewarding. A meticulous layout of the
activities taps onto your creative energies enlivening the atmosphere in the
The following are the considerations we kept in mind when watching the film
A Thousand Words at different developmental stages.
Our purpose is to ensure a balance of activities such as drama, listening
comprehension, body language, discussion, acquiring thus fluency through
Using a subtitled trailer can become a symphony for the senses, honing
listening, visual, reasoning and reading skills. Poster-based predicting
seems to be enjoyed at a great extent because it enables students to focus
on how they use the language in everyday life and narrow their expectations
down to what is likely to be watched.
• At the start of the lesson engage your students’ interest by creating a
feeling of suspense in a warm-up activity which consists in bringing the
topic and some important aspects from the film into discussion. The teacher
can suggest questions for the students to think about what they are
watching. (What is the point message? What is the general topic? What can
you tell from how the characters talk? How far do you agree or disagree?
What is your personal reaction to the character’ s talk? For example in A
Thousand Words you can ask the following questions: What do you usually do
when you are angry? What do you do to cool out? What makes you relax?
• Brainstorm some ideas related to the title. Encourage students to express
and note them down.
2. While viewing the film
In pairs or groups students can write paragraphs of their versions of what
happens before watching; they may refer to actions, people, decisions, plot,
conflicts, then report back to the class, while relying on spontaneous
speech. Thus the students manage to flesh out the storyline of the film.
• Students may work in small groups, playing the parts of the film’s
protagonists and reenact the key scenes. Remember to freeze-frame a
memorable scene from the film (e.g . Jack tries to explain his problem to
his apprentice using the least number of words possible by drawing on the
board and gesturing heavily.) Ask your students specific questions referring
to that particular episode and comment upon it.
• Inject a feeling of freshness and vitality into your lesson by using the
video feedback technique - film your students while they are reconstructing
the viewed scene. You will be surprised to see how motivated even the least
participative students can become. Put the students in imaginary situations
based on the film, giving them the unique opportunity to display their
creativity. Larger groups may be assigned to stage the scenes and to decide
on the course of the action to be taken, even if not all the students are
going to play an active part, as it may be the case with smaller groups.
• Then compare their production to the original one.
• If the students seem to be enjoying some dialogues from the film, stop the
film for a while and ask them to rewrite their preferred dialogues. Any of
the role plays can be rewritten as a dialogue.
3. After viewing the film
• Play a guessing game by asking specific questions based on the quotations
from the film. The questions based on the film One Thousand Words will be:
Who did it? She took the baby and left. (the wife) Whose fault was it? You,
it’s all your fault. (the tree’s) Who told McCann that? Stop talking, just
stop. (the apprentice) Raymond, is that you? It’s my birthday. (Jack’s mum)
I’ll gas your car, too. Who’s responsible for that? (the parking valet) Me,
you, us – eternity. (Jack).
Attention and language comprehension can be checked and points can be
awarded for the correct answers.
• Discuss the following questions embedded within the film:
Nothing in college prepares you for the real world.
One leaf, one word.
Life is not worth living without your family.
Encourage the rest of the class to listen carefully by asking them their
opinion based on what they agree or disagree with. Draw conclusions as
stepping stones to being able to become successful.
Students generate a list of for and against arguments linked to the topic of
the film (family and work, education, books) leading to spontaneous speech,
debate and problem-solving.
• Build fluency through role play using the following cards:
You are Jack who can’t talk/ You are the wife who wants you to talk.
You are the apprentice who is willing to obey all the orders/You are the
boss, giving orders.
You are Jack who can’t talk/You are Jack’s boss who wants you to close a
• Arouse other students’ curiosity by asking students to make posters and
write a film review which gives an insight into their understanding of the
film. The posters are then displayed on the walls. The students make a tour
comparing and discussing their productions.
• Fan letters – students may write a fan letter to one of the actors in the
film expressing their opinion (what they liked or disliked about the part he
or she played and how successfully it was played).
In conclusion, film-watching offers a constructive opportunity to enrich our
students’ vocabulary thus turning it into an inspiration for vocabulary
building. Watching films is a real eye-opener and a starting point for
predictive, vocabulary and role-playing activities with no need for the
students to understand every word. Viewing films can be a revelation for
everyone leading to your self-discovery as a modern teacher using the latest
techniques and it can also turn into a positively enlightening experience
both for language learners and the teachers eager to revitalize their class.
Using the Movies, article written by Frank J. Quebbemann, University of
Bogota, Forum no 3, July 1991
bWaiter, a Dish of Satellite, Please!: Integrating Subtitled Video into Your
Teaching, article written by Tod Ellsworth, Benjamin Institute, Merida,
Forum No. 4, October 1992
Films and Videotapes in the Content-Based ESL Classroom, article written by
Frdedeicka L. Stoller, Northern Arizona University , Forum, No. 4, October
Movies and EFL Teaching, article written by Gretchen Goette, Turin, Forum ,
No. 3, July 1992
Using Films for Teaching Low-Level Students in English, article written by
Melanie Gilbert, Inner Mongolia Forestry College, China, Forum No. 3, July
Essentials of English Language Teaching, Julian Edge, Longman, 1993
Lights, camera, action! Article written by Michael Brewster, Embassy CES,
London, English Teaching Professional, September, 2009, Fischer
International Edition for Romania
Film: A Thousand Words, 2012, starring Eddie Murphy
Georgeta Rarinca and Pollyanna Opris are
English teachers at Nicolae Balcescu High-School, Cluj-Napoca, publishers of
books for children (Witty Kids), involved in creative activities for
students, passionate about teaching using modern techniques.
to Overcome EFL Learners’ Pronunciation Problems
Diana Achmad & Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf
Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Keywords: Classroom activities, English pronunciation, NNS learners,
learning pronunciation, phonological difficulties.
English pronunciation, especially for non native speakers (NNS), is
important to differentiate meanings. It enhances their intelligibility and
listening comprehension as well. This paper reports some phonological
difficulties faced by Indonesian students on sounds, stress, rhythm and
intonation. To enhance their interest and competence in improving English
pronunciation, we describe some practical activities implemented in the
classroom. These tasks included the simplest assignment of identifying
minimal pairs, then moving on to listening dictation, practising rhymes and
limericks, and lastly, to the more advanced speaking activities. In the
course of six months, the students were observed to be more aware of sound
production and improved their abilities to use the proper rhythm and
intonation to express meanings.
English pronunciation is essential when it comes to distinguishing meanings
or to produce comprehensible utterances (Adams-Goertel, 2013), especially
for non native speakers (NNS) of the language. Having good pronunciation for
NNS also increases their intelligibility and listening comprehension. As
stated by Hişmanoğlu (2006, p. 101), pronunciation is “a key to gaining full
communicative competence”. When communicating with native speakers (NS),
sometimes communication breakdown occurs due to incorrect pronunciation of
English words or phrases by NNS. Such frustrating communication needs to be
resolved by NNS by improving their pronunciation.
Many countries treat English as a foreign language, these includes China,
Denmark, Sweden, Iran, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia and among many others (Nordquist,
2013). In Indonesia, English is considered as a foreign language in its
education policy (see Sadtono, 2007). Consequently, this language is
initially taught in grade four of elementary school at the age of ten
beginning with two hours a week. At this stage and subsequently, not much
attention is given to pronunciation. Vocabulary, simple grammar and
constructing simple sentences are the focus for beginners. Beyond the age of
puberty, it is known that a chance for the learners to acquire native-like
pronunciation is less successful as the supposed critical period for
attaining it has closed (see Scovel, 1988). Furthermore, minimal exposure
and contact with NS of the target language also causes adult learners not to
acquire the native-like level of pronunciation (Gilakjani, 2012; Şenel,
2006). Nevertheless, Bongaerts et al. (1997) find that it is possible to
achieve a native-like pronunciation by late second language learners from
certain characteristics of learners and accommodation for learning contexts
to help them attain it.
University students who are in the Secretarial Training Program and English
Education Study Program in Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia,
are in due time prepared to become potential secretaries and English
teachers with proficient English and good pronunciation. However, there have
been studies on attitudes and identity of NNS conducted on whether they
should or should not acquire native-like English pronunciation (see Beinhoff,
2008; Bresnahan et al., 2002; Sari & Yusuf, 2009). Thus, teachers like us
who are given this specific course to teach the year one university students
(ages 18-20 years old) are fully responsible for teaching them English
pronunciation, in particular the American or British English, where both
pronunciation varieties are to be acquired by our students. Our goal as
teachers is to help them achieve clear pronunciation so that they are later
capable of producing English words, phrases and sentences with correct
sound, stress, rhythm and intonation.
Şenel (2006) makes some suggestions to improve the pronunciation of EFL
learners by firstly identifying the common factors that affect their
pronunciation, which are the native language interference, age, amount of
exposure to English, phonetic ability of learners, personality and attitude
of learners towards English, and lastly, their motivation to learn. Based on
these factors, he suggested a number of techniques to help improve the
pronunciation of EFL learners, specifically in Turkey. These include initial
teaching technique (introducing stress and intonation), remedial teaching
technique (dealing with problems of individual sounds), drilling technique
(such as word-association, saturation, illustrating a learned sound,
mobility and substitution) and tongue twisters.
Rengifo (2009) conducted an action research on 15 non-native adult English
speaking students aged 18-60 in an adult English education institute to show
that students can improve their pronunciation by using karaoke in class.
Activities that involved them to practice their pronunciation were designed.
These activities offered enjoyment and creativity to them while working
together. The results showed that 54% of them felt that they have moderately
improved their pronunciation whilst another 38% felt that they have highly
improved their pronunciation. Only 8% felt a little improvement whilst none
showed any improvement. This indicated that karaoke activities encouraged
learning in a relaxed environment and the author further observed that their
feelings of shyness and fear at the beginning of class had been reduced by
the end of the class.
Therefore, in this article, we also present some phonological difficulties
which we have detected from our students in the classroom in producing
English sounds and share some practical activities which enhanced their
interest and competence to improve English pronunciation. We hope that this
article can become a source for any NNS of English teachers, such as
ourselves, in teaching English pronunciation to NNS students.
Indentifying the phonological difficulties
To identify some pronunciation features that posed problems for our students
in the classroom, we had recorded a student with consent to produce some
difficult words and phrases. We further had him retell the story of when he
was briefly staying in Scotland to study English for the sake of
communication and educational purposes. He, too, claimed that to produce
English with its appropriate sounds was complicated. From the 15 minutes
recording, we discovered that there were three significant features of
phonological difficulties faced by our respondent, namely: sounds, stress,
rhythm and intonation.
The distinction between English and Indonesian sounds is apparently seen
from the number of vowels and consonants from these two languages,
respectively. In General American English, there are 14 vowels /i,
and three diphthongs /aɪ,
(Smit, 2007), thus, in Received Pronunciation (UK) there are 12 vowels /i,
æ, a, ə,
and 8 diphthongs /aɪ,
(Howard, 2007). English further has 24 consonants /p, b, t, d, k,
m, n, ŋ, θ, ð, f, v, s, z,
l/ (Smit, 2007). Whilst Indonesian has only six vowels /i, e, a,
o, u/ and three diphthongs /aɪ,
(Swan & Smith, 2001) and 24 consonants /p, b, m, w, f, v, t, d, s, z, n, l,
j, k, g, x, ŋ,
h/ (Chaer, 2009).
English spelling and English pronunciation are two very different things.
Consequently, most of our students informed us that they were not able to
produce intelligible English speech as many English words are pronounced
differently from their spelling. This is the case of many NNS of English
around the world, where peculiarities of English pronunciation are because
of improper inference from the spelling (Wells, 2008). Our respondent had
further reinforced this problem, and below are some examples detected from
our recording which is related to sound production, both based on place and
manner of articulation:
• From the word geotechnical, the velar stop /g/ was clearly produced for
the beginning of the word instead of /ʤ/,
and the consonant cluster /ch/ in the middle of the word was pronounced /h/,
so the word was produced as /ɡɪ’ɒtehnɪkl/
by our respondent.
• The respondent had produced the words as they are spelled, such as /haik/
for high and /ˈsevərəl/
• Consonant clusters at the end of the words, such as /-nɵ/
in month, /-ʃ/
in finish, and /-nt/ in student, were simplified to /mon/,
/finis/, and /stu:dn/. There are no consonant clusters at the end of any
Indonesian words; therefore the respondent found it difficult to properly
at the end of English words, respectively.
• The dental fricative /ð/, which does not exist in Indonesian, was
generally produced as alveolar stop /d/, for instance /der/ for there
• Vowel /ʌ/
and diphthong /əʊ/
are distinct phonemes in Indonesian and both were pronounced as /o/ by the
respondent, such as in /mʌnθ/
for month became /mon/ and
• The Indonesian post-vocalic alveolar trill /r/ was clearly uttered in most
of his English words, such as in sister and master.
Stress and Rhythm
Different languages have different rhythm patterns. Rhythm can be defined as
a regular repetition of events. English has a strong rhythmic pattern as it
is a stressed-timed language, while Indonesian is an example of
syllable-timed languages. In English, unstressed syllables are usually
shortened, whereas the stressed syllables are relatively longer, louder,
more prominent in pitch, and precisely articulated (Brown, 1977). In
syllable-timed language, all syllables take approximately the same amount of
time to be repeated periodically (Lecumberri & Maidment, 2000). Therefore,
almost every word in English is uttered clearly and loudly by Indonesian
speakers, including function words, such as auxiliary verbs, articles, and
prepositions. The first language effect is perceived to lead to monotony or
flatness of impression.
From the recording, our respondent failed to differentiate between stressed
and unstressed syllables as he produced almost every word in every sentence
clearly without reducing weak forms, for example:
I have three brothers and one sister.
DA DA DA DA da DA DA DA da
I am a lecturer in
Civil Engineering faculty.
DA da da DA DA DA DA
DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA da
He mostly produced every syllable loudly with the same interval. For English
interlocutors, this may sound strange as the English utterances and
understanding of what NNS meant may be challenging for them to grasp.
Intonation is very important in oral communication since it is used to
express intentions. Intonation also leads to the judgement of speaker’s
attitude, character, and ways of behaving in communication (Kenworthy,
1987). Intonation refers to the variation in direction of the pitch which is
the rise and fall of the voice in speaking (Brown, 1977). Unlike English,
Indonesian is relatively a flat language since it does not have much melody.
Normally, questions, suggestions, and offers are marked with rise endings
(Swan & Smith, 2001), whereas statements are usually flat. This is
presumably the reason for Indonesian speakers to have flat intonation when
they are speaking English. From the recording, we also found our respondent
to predominantly use flat intonation with low final pitch, for instance:
hobby is playing football.
been in Glasgow for almost two months.
From his intonations, it may appear to the listener that he was bored and
not interested in the topic of speaking, thus, this was really not the case.
Indonesian intonation clearly influenced his English production.
The phonological tribulations mentioned above, which are generally faced by
Indonesian learners, must be treated separately so that learners can focus
and overcome each problem conscientiously. Since pronunciation is one of the
common problems for second language learners, it is necessary for teachers
to assist their students in achieving clear English pronunciation as best as
they can. Stephens et al. (2012, p. 19) state that when teachers “set
attainable communicative goals for their students and design motivating
interactional activities with adequate support, students can rise to their
high expectations and improve their English.” For that reason, we have
attempted some activities as suggested by Fraser (2001) to improve the
pronunciation of the students who were employed subsequently in our classes.
In general, we found these activities had assisted our students in improving
their pronunciation during speaking activities in class. The activities
which we exercised started from the easiest task in the first month of the
course and moved on the next tasks for the following months until the course
was over for the first semester (six months). It was held twice a week for 4
The possible activities to enhance interests and attainment in English
pronunciation which we employed sequentially are explained in this section.
These activities associate the phonetic symbols with practice of real sounds
and students could work together to reach their pronunciation goals (Rengifo,
Indentifying Minimal Pairs
Identifying minimal pairs was the initial practice in the classroom. This
was a good start to help the learners identify the distinction between
English and Indonesian sounds. Rules or principles to help students
understand the structure of English pronunciation were introduced at the
very first day of class. Together with this, the first exercises of
identifying minimal pairs were carried out to help our students distinguish
sounds, such as voiced and voiceless from English pairs of consonants and
vowels, including monophthongs and diphthongs, and short and long vowels.
Accordingly, we had prepared worksheets which contained words from the
Pronunciation Practice cassette which were found to be the common
conflicting words mispronounced by our learners, such as:
and /ð/ (for month and brother)
and /ʒ/ (for finish and
(for ago and law)
/i:/ and /ɪ/
(for sheep and ship)
Beforehand, we had the students to listen to the actual production of the
words by a NS from the cassette. Then we demonstrated the sounds of each
pair and explained the difference of voiced and voiceless to the students by
placing our hands on the front of our throats to feel the buzzing of the
sounds. We had provided a sizeable phonetic chart to describe these sounds
more precisely. Then the worksheets were passed out to the students after
the minimal pairs practice from the cassette and the teachers were
conducted. Here, students were asked to choose and identify words that were
produced both by the cassette and teachers.
After the first activity was conducted for about a month, the next activity
we employed was listening dictation. Fraser (2001) notes that teaching
pronunciation is better when the teacher focuses on parts of speech, such as
words, phrases and sentences rather than just practicing on individual
sounds and syllables. In view of that, practicing from producing individual
words moved on to producing phrases and sentences. The cassette which
consisted of a NS talking was used as a model, and later we repeated of what
the NS said to assist our students in producing each English phrase
presented in the cassette. We instructed the students to repeat the phrases
with the intonation and rhythm as produced by the NS in the cassette. We
then repeated the cassette and asked our students to write down every single
phrase they heard. This task was intended to generate our students’
perception of English sounds and contrasts.
Subsequently, tasks to listen to particular English news broadcast on
YouTube and English popular songs were also carried out. During the
listening task, we had the students write down as quickly as possible of
what they heard. Then we asked the students to read aloud of what they had
written. Corrections of their mispronounced words were made along the way.
Parts of English movies were later also used as one of our teaching
materials. Despite that movies have actors acting out, thus, their lines was
used to show the students of how some words or phrases are expressed by
native speakers. Our university lack of teachers of native speakers of
English. All lecturers who teach English in our faculties are NNS like us.
Therefore, we had to find a way to expose our students to real English
production from NS. English movies were the closest we could get and they
were also simple to obtain either from the video stores available in our
city or the Internet. We found that these movies attracted the students more
rather than the formal cassette or video typically used for teaching English
pronunciation. In the movies, it was not just the audio or visual
presentation, but “real” impersonation of how the words were said, or here
acted, by the actors could be sighted as well. They presented more of
genuine situations compared to the formal cassette or videos previously
used. From parts of the movies, we had identified the actors’ lines in the
form of statement, question, exclamation, request, command and suggestion.
During the task in class, they were replayed for the students to watch and
listen. This direct visual and listening activity was for the students to
recognize the signals that the NS actors used to express meanings from the
words they employed, such as intonation and rhythm. Then the students were
asked to repeat the sentences as how the actor/s had said them. This
activity mainly boosted their awareness on the features of pronunciation and
reinforced their English words and phrases to be produced meaningfully. They
enjoyed this activity as they were quite enthusiastic to pronounce the words
and phrases after parts of the movie were replayed. Actors of different
dialects spotted in the movies also helped us demonstrate to the students of
the different English dialects that exist around the world.
Another task which was also conducted during this activity was pairing the
students to give them the chance to dictate each other. Here, it was seen
that the students were more comfortable interacting and making mistakes with
partners rather than with teachers. We observed that pairing them was also a
good step in building their confidence in producing more English words.
Rhymes and Limericks
We employed rhymes and limericks as one of the activities to further
emphasize on the English rhythm patterns during the mid of semester. We
firstly demonstrated how to read the rhymes or limericks to the students,
and then asked each student to repeat them. Difficult words were repeated
and reinforced a few times until the students produced them correctly.
Learning pronunciation needs a great amount of practice, especially at these
early stages of the course. Fraser (2001) says that it is common for
learners to repeat a particular phrase or sentence many times before until
they feel comfortable in producing them. These words were also incorporated
in other sentences to further support their pronunciation in different
contexts, preferably those used in the real world. As Fraser (2001, p. 18)
further acknowledges that, “drilling of real, useful phrases which can
actually be used outside the classroom is highly advantageous to learners”.
Homework such as to create their own rhymes and limericks was also assigned
to the students. This homework was presented to the class by each student in
the next class meeting. Another related homework was for the students to
write down lyrics of their favorite English songs. Later in the classroom,
they were to read those lyrics out loud with their best pronunciation.
Direct corrections were made by us along the way. For those students who
enjoyed singing, they had sung the lyrics of their favorite English song and
the class became quite lively and motivating.
Near the end of the semester, activities that actually gave opportunities to
our students to practice their English pronunciation directly with their
whole peers in class were performed. Fraser (2001, p. 86) emphasizes that,
“with all pronunciation work, it is important to work on material that is
genuinely useful to learners, and reflects the language they will have to
use in the real world outside the classroom”. Regarding this, we prepared
activities on their real life interests which required them to effectively
speak loudly in front of the whole class. An activity that we called
“Describe and Demonstrate” was quite enjoyed by our students. In this
activity, we asked the students to prepare an explanation of an activity
beforehand at home. Besides describing the activity, they also had to
demonstrate it in front of the class. During their presentations, they had
to speak loud enough for the whole class to hear as this contributes to the
meaning as well. For example, a student had given a step-by-step explanation
on how to prepare the Acehnese fried rice through individual pictures which
she had prepared beforehand at home. The pictures consisted of plain rice,
the spices and ingredients to be used, the process of frying, and the
finalized presentation of the dish to be served. Then another student had
described a step-by-step demonstration of making paper origami of a bird.
The description process during their presentations had altogether put into
practice the English pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation that they
had learned so far in the classroom.
From the successive activities which we had implemented in a one semester
course, namely: indentifying minimal pairs, listening dictation, rhymes and
limericks, and speaking activities, our observations in the classroom showed
us that they had, for the most part, helped improve our students’ English
pronunciation compared to the first day they entered class for the course.
We noticed that the speaking activities employed near the end of the course
made our students become more aware of sound productions while associating
them to the proper rhythm and intonation to express their meanings. They
were then more cautious on the fact that good pronunciation involves voicing
the words correctly.
Nevertheless, the limitation of our article is that it only contributes to
the outcome of our students’ achievements from the implemented activities
through mere observations and individual grading by us as NNS English
teachers. Among the recommendations for future work we may include making
recordings at the beginning and at the end of the course to provide solid
evidence of the improvement in pronunciation that occurred. Comparisons of
the pronunciation in the recordings could indicate the exact elements
strengthened by the implemented techniques.
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Sociolinguistics Symposium, Micro and Macro Connections, 3- 5 April 2008,
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(2002). Attitudinal and affective response toward accented English. Language
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Biodata of authors
Diana Achmad is a lecturer of English Language in the Secretarial Training
Program (Program Diploma Sekretari or PRODIS), Faculty of Economics, Syiah
Kuala University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She holds a M.Ed. in English
Language Teaching at University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf is a lecturer in the Department of English
Language Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Syiah Kuala
University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She holds a Master in Linguistics and a
PhD in Phonetics and Phonology from University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur,
Focus on Ireland. Living My Belfast Adventure
by Elisabeta Maxim, “Stefan cel Mare” School, Botosani
Keywords: Northern Ireland, training course, cultural gain, personal and
professional development, Comenius grant, ANPCDEFP
This article presents the benefits of participating in a training course in
an English speaking country and the cultural gain achieved as a result of
attending this specific course. The really well organized workshops offered
us plenty of ideas on current problems teachers encounter when teaching
English as a foreign language: motivating students, developing students'
autonomy, teaching large classes, teaching vocabulary and grammar
creatively, making our lessons more communicative, using authentic
materials, using ICT in the classrooms etc. The training course offered a
real focus on culture through all the scheduled educational visits: Folk
Park, Ulster Open-Air Folk and Transport Museum, the Giant's Causeway,
Carrick-a-Rede and Antrim Coast. It also comprised workshops on Ireland as
portrayed in Modern Literature and Film.
The summer of 2013 was definitely a beneficial time for me as a human being,
as well as for my teaching career. My application for a Comenius grant had
been approved in March and I was eager to start my journey to Belfast for a
training course entitled “Focus on Ireland - Two-Week Training Course for
European Teachers of English at Secondary Level”. I have always believed
that training courses in a foreign country have the power to polish not only
our teaching skills, but also to shape our personality. We pack our bags,
leave home and travel thousands of kilometres to a place where we are going
to live for two weeks with people about whom we know little about. The only
known thing is that we are going to meet other twenty people sharing the
same passion for teaching.
We started our classes on Monday morning in a very multicultural context. I
had classmates from Italy, Poland, Hungary, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland,
Estonia, Portugal, Austria, Spain, and German, thirteen nationalities all
together. The assembly point was the Ulster Museum and we were delighted to
see that this was going to be our venue for the training course. After
welcome and introduction with the local organiser, we embarked on a
three-hour illustrated lecture on Irish history and culture with Dr. John
Motcombe from Belfast Royal Academy. Very refreshing and bursting with
information, Dr. Motcombe presented thoroughly a period of over one hundred
years of the Irish history. Our imaginary journey was inspiredly continued
with a visit to the City Hall and a walking tour of the city.
Belfast City Hall opened its doors on 1 August 1906 during a great time of
prosperity for the city. Today, the magnificent building is a lasting
memorial to Belfast's success and a great source of civic pride. The grounds
of City Hall are a favourite of city centre workers, students and tourists
for taking a break from the bustling city. Many people can be found relaxing
in the grounds with friends or simply a sandwich and a favourite book. The
grounds are also used for many events from continental markets to open air
concerts. The tour of the City Hall lasted around one hour and it was led by
an experienced guide who uncovered the history of City Hall, while exploring
some of its finest features.
After that we walked along the River Lagan, passed “The Beacon of Hope”, one
of the largest public art sculptures in Belfast and we arrived at the Big
Fish. The fish is covered with ceramic tiles decorated with texts and images
relating to the history of Belfast such as day newspaper headlines from
Tudor times along with contributions from Belfast school children and our
passionate guide would have stayed there to tell us the story of each tile
of the fish. The Big Fish also contains a time capsule storing information,
images, poetry on the city. Commissioned to celebrate the regeneration of
the River Lagan, it is a significant landmark as it is the location of the
confluence of the River Lagan with the River Farset (the Gaelic “Beal
Feirste”, meaning “mouth of the sandy ford”), after which Belfast is named.
Albert Memorial Clock was the next impressive sight to catch our eye.
Located in Victoria Street, the tower leans 1.25 metres off the vertical,
the Clock's unsteadiness is due the fact that it was built on land reclaimed
from the river. The tower is 35 metres high and centres around Prince
Albert, Victoria's consort. Crowned lions holding shields and floral
decoration surround the clock itself.
As we had previously been warned by the local organiser, our guide seemed to
have endless resources of energy and stories about each and every little
street in Belfast and the most admirable of all was his willingness and
passion to share everything with us. We stopped him after a few hours
because we were all dead tired and wet as it had rained all afternoon.
Surprisingly, apart from us, nobody appeared to be bothered by the rain.
We spent the following days in our classroom at the Ulster Museum. We
participated in several workshops on teaching English as a foreign language,
new developments in the English language and Advanced Language Practice. The
workshops were conducted by Jenny Waters, an expert teacher trainer with
many years of experience in training European teachers of English and a
wealth of exciting ideas to impart. They explored a wide range of teaching
ideas and activities designed to motivate students and make language lessons
more enjoyable and worthwhile, including: a variety of motivating activities
which engage students’ imaginations and creativity - innovative role play
and drama activities, use of the media, poetry and stories, learner styles
and learner training - different strategies for differentiation, increasing
motivation and inclusivity in the classroom, motivating mixed ability
classes, creative activities for large classes, cross-curricular language
teaching, developing learner autonomy, language analysis for teaching, all
four skills - particularly integrated tasks, stimulating ideas for
exploiting textbooks, creative writing activities, correction and feedback
strategies, evaluation and assessment, using authentic materials, grammar
activities, teaching vocabulary, the Lexical Approach, task based learning,
using new technology, recent developments in English etc. We were encouraged
to share our own ideas and experiences and to participate in practical
activities suitable for students. A wide range of ready-made teaching
materials was also provided.
After eight-hour workshops we never felt too tired, therefore we followed
our local coordinator suggestions and visited West Belfast to make the tour
of the Murals or went to old pubs for traditional Irish music and dance
sessions. We chose the Black Taxi Tour for the Murals and the drivers
strived to give us the most informative, fun and unbiased tour possible. The
political murals of the Falls and the Shankill tell their own graphic story
of what has been called "The Troubles" in Ireland's recent history. Almost
all Northern Ireland murals promote republican or loyalist political
beliefs, often glorifying paramilitary groups such as the Provisional Irish
Republican Army, Ulster Freedom Fighters, and the Ulster Volunteer Force,
while others commemorate people who have lost their lives in paramilitary or
military attacks. Murals can be described as a mirror of political change,
as they have been painted throughout the last century and display all
important historic as well as political developments in the scope of unique
wall paintings. But not all murals in are directly political or sectarian in
nature, with some commemorating events such as the Great Irish Famine and
other moments in Irish history. Many portray events from Irish mythology,
though images from Irish myths are often incorporated into political murals.
On Friday the organizers scheduled an educational visit to the Northern
Ireland Assembly at Stormont. Parliament Buildings is home to the Northern
Ireland Assembly, the legislative body for Northern Ireland established
under the Belfast Agreement 1998 (Good Friday Agreement).
Built in 1921, it was designed to house the newly formed Government of
Northern Ireland and was officially opened on 16th November 1932 by the then
Prince of Wales, on behalf of King George V. The building stands at the top
of the mile-long Prince of Wales Avenue behind a statue of Lord Edward
Carson, unionist MP regarded as the founding father of the Northern Ireland
State. A representative from the Department of Education was our guide and
she also held a lecture on the history of the Parliament, the way of making
decisions for Northern Ireland, how their MPs are elected, the system of
voting for their laws etc. As to consolidate everything we learned at
Stormont, the day ended with a lecture on the Northern Ireland’s Political
History with Dr. John Motcombe from the Belfast Royal Academy.
On Saturday we departed to Dublin for a day visit. The walking tour started
at the Trinity College with fascinating stories about the places, the
buildings, the teachers and also the students, told by our knowledgeable
guide. He managed to keep us all so captivated throughout the whole tour
that at a certain moment while walking down Grafton Street we surprised
ourselves singing: “In Dublin's fair city, / Where the girls are so pretty,
/ I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone, / As she wheeled her
wheel-barrow, / Through streets broad and narrow, / Crying, "Cockles and
mussels, alive, alive, oh!"” The National Museum of Ireland, the National
Gallery of Ireland, the City Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s
Cathedral, the Spire of Dublin on O’Connell Street, the high tide at
Sandymount Strand, the parks, the bridges across the River Liffey turned the
trip to Dublin into a memorable one.
Visiting Derry on Sunday was not officially part of our schedule, but it was
highly recommended by the organisers. Derry, officially Londonderry, is the
second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the
island of Ireland. The city’s name is still very contentious. Most Irish
nationalists prefer to use the name Derry, while unionists use Londonderry.
Legally, the city and county are called Londonderry (the local government
district is called Derry), but you will still see the ‘London’ part of the
name scrawled out on road signs. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the
Irish name Daire or Doire meaning "oak grove". In 1613, the city was granted
a Royal Charter by King James I and the "London" prefix was added, changing
the name of the city to Londonderry. While the city is more usually known as
Derry, Londonderry is also used and remains the legal name. In 2013, Derry
became the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in
July 2010 and the name locals liked to use in order to avoid confusion was
LegenDerry. It is also nicknamed Stroke City, due to the 'politically
correct' use of the oblique notation Derry/Londonderry.
Derry is the only remaining completely intact walled city in Ireland and one
of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe and you can make a
complete circuit of them, making a stop to check out the 24 huge restored
cannons, and four original gates along the way. A moving series of murals
depicting the violence of Northern Ireland’s Troubles can be seen on
Rossville Street in the Bogside neighbourhood. The murals, called the
People’s Gallery, show images of the 1981 hunger strikes, a petrol bomber
and commemorate the victims of Bloody Sunday, among other pictures. Derry is
one of the few cities in Europe that never saw its fortifications breached,
withstanding several sieges including one in 1689 which lasted 105 days,
hence the city's nickname, The Maiden City.
Much of the Troubles, as the conflict is known, was focused here along with
the capital, Belfast, and during the early 70s the city was heavily
militarised. From the city’s landmarks to artworks, today reminders of the
violent years are everywhere. Opened in June 2011, the Peace Bridge is a
sweeping structure that crosses the River Foyle, and links the largely
unionist east of the city to the largely nationalist west – the intention
being to symbolise peace between the communities, as well as link them
The second week started with a lecture on education in Northern Ireland with
P.J. O’Grady, former head teacher at St Patrick’s College, session which
gave all of the teachers participating in the training course the
opportunity to ask questions about the Irish educational system, but also to
briefly present the educational system in our countries. Considering that
there were thirteen participating countries, the discussions were very
lively and fruitful at the same time.
The next day we took the train to Cultra to the Ulster Open-Air Folk and
Transport Museum. The Folk Museum is made up of a collection of more than 30
exhibit buildings, removed from their original sites in different parts of
Ulster and re-erected in the open air museum. Here we experienced a little
of what life would have been like around 100 years ago. The most interesting
thing was that many of the buildings are staffed by costumed visitor guides,
and demonstrations for the general public take place on a daily basis, e.g.
basket-making in the basket-makers workshop, weaving in the weavers shed,
open-hearth baking in The Rectory, and printing in Baird’s Print Shop. In
the rural area of the Folk Museum, we experienced an idea of country life as
it might have been at the turn of the century. Farm animals typical of the
era can be found around the farms and various crops are grown throughout the
season using traditional methods in the surrounding fields.
But the last day of the course was definitely the one that made us, if we
still had not done it by that time, fall in love with Northern Ireland. The
organizers scheduled a day visit to the world famous The Giant’s Causeway,
Carrick-a-Rede, the Bushmills Distillery and the beautiful Antrim Coast.
The training course gave all the participants the opportunity to meet
teachers with common interests. These common interests made our
collaboration so efficient throughout the two weeks and made us want to
collaborate in the future too. In order to keep contact with all the
participants and facilitate the exchange of ideas we exchanged e-mail
addresses and we created a yahoo group where we can easily upload our
materials. This action has already proved itself to be effective as some of
the participants have shared links providing teaching materials, videos we
filmed in Ireland for educational purposes, interviews etc.
All the provided lectures and workshops helped us gain an insight into Irish
history, culture, politics, literature and education system. Many
opportunities to exchange ideas and develop links with teachers from
secondary schools in different European countries were created. The teachers
participating in the course definitely brought back home a huge variety of
new teaching ideas and motivating materials ready to use in the classroom.
As there were thirteen nationalities attending the course, there were few
the opportunities to use your native language, therefore the course can be
considered a two-week Advanced Language Practice activity with a focus on
the Irish pronunciation. The quality of the lectures and workshops was
excellent. The way the content was presented made the course to be very
lively, most our history and culture lessons being held outdoors, right in
the middle of the places the presented events took place. The trainers
organized their courses in an interactive manner, combining the traditional
with more modern approaches. All these, but also the fact that Belfast
proved to be a safe city and Ireland a place that you can easily fall in
love with, make me recommend this course and encourage teachers to apply for
Erasmus + training courses.
Elisabeta Maxim, MA is a teacher of English at
Mare” School Botosani and also a teacher trainer for the County School
Inspectorate. She has participated in a number of training courses in the UK
due to grants awarded by either ANPCDEFP or the Ministry of Education. Her
interest in methodology made her publish several articles, two books and
many activity books.
LCCI International Qualifications. A
Different Approach to Exams
Lacrimioara Nasui, “Constantin Brâncuşi” Lower Secondary School, Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: International recognition, JETSET Qualifications, Common European
Framework (CEF) Level, UK National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level, EDI
(Education Developed Internationally), English for Specific Purposes (ESP),
General English Qualifications
This article presents briefly some ways of assessing our students through
LCCI exams, which are an alternative to the already popular Cambridge exams.
Students and teachers should be aware of as many types of exams as possible
and choose the one which suits hem best.
In the present article you can find features and advantages of this type of
examination, as well as international recognition both for General English
and for English for Specific Purposes.
A. About LCCI International Qualifications from EDI
LCCI International Qualifications from EDI are offered through a growing
network of over 4,000 centres, supported by extensive learning resources and
easy online administration. The qualifications are taken in over 80
countries and each year over 500,000 candidates are awarded across the
LCCI International Qualifications offers qualifications and diplomas in a
range of subject areas, covering all the key functions of business:
Languages; Financial and Quantitative; Marketing and Customer Service;
Business, Administration and IT.
The examinations assess professional knowledge of the subject and are taken
in English. For those candidates for whom English is not the first language,
the required level of English competence can be found in each syllabus. LCCI
International qualifications enjoy widespread recognition from employers,
universities and professional bodies in the UK.
B. Features and Benefits
LCCI brand renowned for over 100 years in over 80 counties Well established
and internationally recognized certificates to provide the students with
Available at a range of levels Suitable for students of all ages and
experience; progression routes to higher education and employment
On Demand examinations availability Flexible -organise the examination
whenever best suits your needs
Supported by extensive learning resources including textbooks, practice
tests and comprehensive downloadable materials Confidently prepare students
for LCCI examinations
C. International recognitions
■Universities ■Chambers of Commerce
■Employers ■Professional bodies
■Governments ■Employment offices
■Civil service ■Schools
D. English for Specific Purposes
1. English for Business (preliminary level, CEF A1-A2)
The objective of the qualification is to enable students to develop their
basic linguistic ability, in a predictable business English context.
Assessment: Reading and Writing-compulsory (90 minute examination paper)
Speaking- optional (11 minute examination, including 5 minutes preparation
Listening- optional (20 minutes, 25 tasks)
2. English for Business (level 1, A2-B1)
The objective is to enable candidates to develop the ability to
read/understand basic business-related English texts, write basic English
for simple, brief business communications, understand simple, spoken and
recorded business English, participate in short conversations.
Assessment: Reading and Writing- compulsory (2 hour examination consisting
of four questions)
Speaking- optional (12 minute examination, including 5 minutes preparation
Listening- optional (30 minute examination, 30 multiple-choice questions)
3. English for Business (level 2, B1-B2)
The aim is for candidates to write accurate English suited to the stated
purpose, understand and write English using formats that are current and
common in business communication, adopt the register, form, layout, content
and composition appropriate to the requirements of a given situation,
understand spoken and recorded business English, participate in
Assessment: Reading and Writing- compulsory (2.5 hour examination consisting
of 3 questions)
Speaking- optional (13 minute examination)
Listening- optional (25 minutes, 30 tasks)
4. English for Business (level 3, B2-C1)
The aim is for students to understand and write English in a variety of ways
within a range of business contexts, employ appropriate business formats and
styles to produce a range of business documents for different audiences and
purposes, understand spoken and recorded business English at the defined
level, participate in conversations and discussions, make an oral
presentation on a business-related topic.
Assessment: Reading and writing- compulsory (3 hours examination, 4
Speaking- optional (15 minute examination)
Listening- optional (25 minutes, 30 questions)
5. English for Business (level 4, C1-C2)
The aim is for students to understand authentic business texts, write
English in a variety of ways within an extensive range of business contexts,
listen to and understand business-related material, give clear, detailed
oral descriptions and presentations on complex subjects, express themselves
orally in a clear and appropriate style on business or professional matters.
Assessment: Reading and Writing- compulsory (3 hours, 4 questions)
Speaking- optional (17 minutes)
Listening- optional (30 minutes, 15 listening passages, each with two
6. SEFIC-Spoken English for Industry and Commerce (preliminary level, level
1, level 2, level 3, level 4)
7. English for Tourism (level 1, level 2, level 3)
E. General English Qualifications
1. JETSET ESOL International qualifications
The objectives are to develop knowledge and understanding of the spoken and
written forms of English in meaningful contexts, the ability to listen and
read for gist and detail, to communicate effectively in English, some
knowledge of the grammar of English and the ability to apply it accurately
in the appropriate context.
The qualifications are available from preliminary level to level 7, ranging
from CEF A1 to C2. Each level consists of 3 mandatory components (listening
comprehension test, reading test, writing test) and one optional component
(speaking test). The tests are offered on demand are available in either
Junior (Young learner- JET) or Senior (adult- SET) formats.
Assessment: Reading test (multiple choice question, 60-120 minutes,
depending on level)
Writing test (free-form writing test-test of written production skills;
Listening test (multiple choice questions, 30-45 minutes)
Speaking- optional (5-8 minutes)
2. English Language Skills Assessment (ELSA)
The objective is to measure general English language competence using work,
home, social and travel settings, to test a person’s ability to understand
and communicate in the real world, to present a skills-based interpretation
of English language ability.
Assessment: Listening (60 multiple choice questions, 30 minutes, 4 question
Reading (60 multiple choice questions, 45 minutes, 4 question formats)
Speaking (task-based- recorded and sent back for scoring; 40 tasks, 7
formats, 30 minutes)
Writing 1 (60 multiple choice questions, 3 question formats covering grammar
and syntax, 45 minutes)
Writing 2 (one essay on a specific topic, 40 minutes)
3. Foundation English Language Skills Assessment (FELSA)
The objective is to measure low-level below A1-A2) English language
competence using work, home, social and travel settings, understand and
communicate in the real world, present a skills-based interpretation on
English language ability.
Assessment: Reading (30 multiple choice questions, 1 hour)
Listening (30 multiple choice questions, 1 hour)
Speaking (4 question formats, 20 minutes)
1. Brochure LCCI International Qualifications from EDI
2. Web-site: www.lcci.org.uk
3. LCCI workshop for teachers
Lacrimioara Nasui has been teaching English for 9 years, to all kinds of
students: primary school students, very young learners, lower-secondary
school students and high school students. She has attended courses, seminars
and workshops for teachers, as a way to improve her teaching skills and help
her students in their process of learning. She is particularly interested in
preparing students for external exams, like Cambridge, IELTS or LCCI exams.
Pragmatics of Happiness in Building a New Curriculum
by Monica-Catia Giuchici,
Colegiul Naţional “Traian Lalescu” Reşiţa
Motto: “Let not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments”.
(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)
Keywords: pragmatics, empathy, synaesthesia, social intelligence,
The present paper aims at revising the strategies of curriculum
writing by applying the perspective of a “paradigm of happiness” seen as an
empathic and synaesthetic emotional connection between trainer-trainee,
teacher-student, parent-child, employer-employee, in a moment when our
global society engages us within a tough and competitive process.
Consequently, the current material proposes effective solutions for both
curriculum writing, lesson planning as well as for engendering robust
educational survival scaffolding.
The realities of the third millennium encumbered by the unprecedented
changes within the existential paradigm of each and every individual whether
at the social, economic, political, cultural or educational layer – have
determined the researchers in psychology, psychometrics, educational
sciences and not only – to focus their attention on the disappearance of
human empathy , both at the individual and institutional levels.
Which is more, the above-mentioned phenomenon seems to have been ongoing for
the latest two decades, thus having attracted the leaders’ and
decision-makers’ attention towards a serious necessity of change when it
comes to the relationship between employer-employee, individual-institution,
family members, teacher-student, etc. Consequently, the present paper will
strategically attempt at scaffolding a new curriculum aiming at building a
“paradigm of happiness” within the threefold approach of teaching, learning
and evaluating processes, including them all within the larger umbrella of a
third millennium curriculum.
As such, the current material will start by achieving a time immersion along
the most relevant theories of empathic studies for the most recent years,
will continue by tackling the avatars of “social intelligence”, only to
reach a pragmatic denouement by proposing “empathic strategies” within the
development of a “paradigm of happiness” along a curriculum writing process.
II. TIME IMMERSION
In 1920, the theoretician and psychologist, Edward Thorndike, proposed, for
the first time, the term of “social intelligence” within the parameters of a
new science – psychometrics – a collocation which was contrasted to the
well-established IQ (the Intelligence Quotient), the only reliable
“factotum” when designing a test in education. However, Thorndike’s analysis
did not answer the objective requirements of conceiving a test, starting
with its validity, and, as a result, his findings went on unobserved.
The 1950’s have transferred the concept of “social intelligence” to the
level of “general intelligence” or the so-called “G” factor (David
Weschler’s studies), whilst the process will further witness other
approaches in the domain belonging to J.P.Guilford’s discoveries, the latter
having enumerated no less than 120 of separate intellectual abilities that
contribute to an individual’s achievements both in education as well as in
real life. Guilford’s studies were completed in the years to come by Carl
Rogers, William Heard Kilpatrick or John Dewey, who opened a new way to
describing human relationships through the affective-humanistic method.
Also called the “nondirective approach” by Carl Rogers himself, and
redefined as “the third dimension of learning” by Samuel Tenenbaum, the
nondirective method represents a complete correspondence between the
interlocutor’s language, pitch, gestures or thoughts, whilst the
communication between two persons takes place. In Carl Roger’s opinion,
there is no risk of either of the interlocutors in revealing their true
feelings or thoughts as “congruence” (Carl Roger’s term of complete
correspondence between exterior and interior communication) as such a
reaction would bring only benefits, starting with the individual’s happiness
and ending with a thriving business. Still, not even Carl Roger’s solution
led to the engendering of a cohesive paradigm of affective assessment within
the educational domain.
The 1980’s record new models of intelligence due to the remarkable
publications of Robert Sternberg about “practical intelligence” or Howard
Gardner’s breakthrough of “multiple intelligences”. Among the seven types of
such intelligences developed in Gardner’s famous book “Frames of Mind”
(1983) or “Multiple Intelligences. Theory to Practice” (1993), the latter
defines one of the seven types as “interpersonal intelligence”, which
overlaps the term of “social intelligence” later to be discovered.
A first step towards the term of “social intelligence” was made by Paul
Elkman through his “micro-expressive” tests of reading which included not
only questions built on the IQ element but also non-cognitive abilities such
as the individual’s degree of happiness, his/her capacity of interpersonal
relationship or emotional development. However, the problem will be fully
solved only starting with the new millennium, when Daniel Goleman, the Head
of the Department of Behavioral and Mental Studies from the University of
Harvard, published his book “Social Intelligence. A New Science of Human
Relationships” (2007). This will be the core strategy to be applied in the
following developments to engender the paradigm of a new curriculum for the
III. THE AVATARS OF SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE
When it comes to the student’s social, professional or economic
independence, inherently developed in the Romanian Curriculum for the second
generation, the formerly – mentioned aim of the curriculum cannot be fully
achieved to its optimum parameters due to the lack of the affective and
emotional ingredients in the complex educational process itself. Thus, a new
approach in curriculum designing appears as a “must”.
At a further analysis, whilst comparing and contrasting the curriculum
itself with the specialized syllabus, irrespective of the eight competences
formulated within the Lisbon Strategy ( mother tongue communication
abilities, competences in Mathematics, science and technology, foreign
languages competences, the capacity of learning how to learn, developing an
entrepreneurial spirit or achieving general knowledge standards) are all
supported by cognitive strategies based on Anderson’s and Krathwohl’s
taxonomies of 2001, as further contributions to Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy of
1956. That is why the avatars of social intelligence come to complete the
previously mentioned interstices.
Even if the former taxonomy brings about extraordinary improvements at the
level of knowledge transfer, the Romanian results, as far as the quality
knowledge and personal happiness are involved, have proved an extraordinary
setback within mass education feedback. Moreover, truancy, the lack of
motivation while studying or the low acquisition level due to the wash-back
effect, all the aforementioned phenomena are but serious arguments in
redesigning both the National Curriculum as well as its corresponding
Starting from Daniel Goleman’s concept of “social intelligence” the current
paper invites the reader to make a shift towards a completion of the present
day curriculum by a robust infusion of a “paradigm of happiness” whilst
including within it the affective and empathic ingredients through the
individual’s co-participation to a totally transparent process of teaching,
learning and evaluation. When transferring the whole strategy to such a
curriculum, due to Daniel Goleman’s construction, what we acquire is
enlisted in the table below:
SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS PRACTICALITY
First rate empathy
( identifying nonverbal emotional signals)
( perfect nonverbal interaction)
(maximum receptivity and staying on the same wavelength)
(personalized answer adapted to the stimuli)
(understanding the interlocutor’s thoughts, feelings, intentions) Influence
(modeling the result of social interaction)
(knowing the social rules and world development) Showing Interest/Compassion
(understanding and positively reacting to the others’ needs)
(Daniel Goleman, “Social Intelligence. A New Science of Human Relationship”,
IV. A POSSIBLE PARADIGM OF HAPPINESS
When it comes to the teaching-learning-evaluation paradigm, synchronicity at
the level of both the students’ and the teacher’s nonverbal signals, from
the latter’s coming into the classroom to the end of the class itself,
represent the first element to foretell the efficiency and quality of the
lesson to be engendered. Adjusting the signals by using the amigdala and
thus ensuring the transfer of negative signals towards the prefrontal area
of the human brain engages the neocortex within an activity of transforming
the first negative answer into a positive one. In this case, synchronicity
permits us to slide along a “gracious nonverbal dance” between the
interlocutors, as Daniel Goleman calls it. Any discrepancy between the two
“dancers” will surely lead towards the sabotaging of any social competence,
thus annihilating the student’s motivation of participating to the
engendering of the class.
Consequently, as soon as we, as teachers, have achieved the positive
awareness of understanding empathy in the class, the fifty- minute learning
process has been launched. This “win-win” approach will be pushed forward by
didactic strategies of respect and professional support steered all along
the time slot of any class developed in front of our students. A smile
accompanying any affirmation or question together with our “congruence” must
be backed up and supported until the last minute of the lesson. Any
histrionic attitude or betrayal of the students’ feelings within the
difficult moments of the lesson will lead to the de-construction of the
process, to our loss of confidence or trust on our students’ behalf as well
as to the disappearance of any trace of motivation.
A second aspect to be tackled in building our lesson as a process is the
complete partnership to be built between the teacher and his/her students
all along the educational itinerary, whether we are taking into account a
lesson, a unit, a revision activity or the training of our students to sit
for a major exam. Such an approach encumbers a sound preparation of the
lesson before entering the class as well as a lot of love and respect for
our trainees. By using interactive techniques such as the experiment,
problem-solving, school projects, the use of the internet for discovering
the meaning of new terminology and not only, the virtual communication among
the members of the class, the division of tasks for each member of the teams
by the students themselves, such strategies will develop into as many
opportunities of individual and interpersonal sustainability.
However, where has the teacher disappeared within this construct? According
to the Transactional Analysis strategy, the teacher is his/her students’
partner from the first to the last moment of the process: proposing
itineraries, strategies, facilitating activities, inviting students to
debate, asking for sound arguments, agreeing to agree, agreeing to disagree,
monitoring the students towards self-discovery and self-evaluation. The
processes themselves generate strategies of self-knowledge, interpersonal
relationships, respect and sustainability as well as critical moments at the
time when one of the members of the groups organized in a class has not
performed and achieved the distributed task within the team. Consequently,
in a well-organized learning climate, students acquire lifelong learning
Last but not least, yet representing the most valuable element of this
curriculum engendering process (the lesson, a system of lessons, the
revision system, the semester papers, the exams themselves) there stands
evaluation. Any activity proposed as a segment of the whole paradigm should
include and consider a strategy of evaluation as follows: a self-evaluation
grid, a team-evaluation grid, the grid for the quality of the finite
product, the grid of the new blog/face-book/site, etc. created along the
development of the learning process itself. The previously-mentioned
development can be completed with graphs, learning maps, the student’s
diary, the teacher’s log, reflexive essay describing the processes
The aforementioned strategies of evaluation ensure a climate of trust,
respect and transparency, being included in the student’s Portfolio,
creating the premise of his/her capability of assuming risks and
responsibilities all along their educational training process, whilst making
clarifications of each and every student’s learning style, type of
personality or competences. Not only will such an approach mould a complete
personality always ready for an interview or an assumed risk, but it will
also build interpersonal empathy and successful communication at group,
professional or community levels, all included into the collocation of the
“paradigm of happiness”.
As a result, the dynamics teacher-student- learning process can be
reconstructed into the following curriculum grid:
Stimuli Strategies of transformation Strategies of evaluation
Fictional/nonfictional text The game of the statue/still life
Painting/sculpture/engraving Role-play/doubling Group evaluation grid
Musical comedy Diagonal intervention(reorganizing the discourse starting
from its middle) Personal diary
Image/photography Theatrical forum/debates/virtual conversations Group diary
Advertisements The itinerary of thoughts (communicating thoughts to the
auditorium) Teacher’s log
Film scene Critical Thinking The student’s educational portfolio
NB. The ingredients of each column can be transferred from one area to
another, can be further on included and commented within reflexive essays,
can be published on face-books/sites/blogs/twitters, etc. only to be finally
included in an efficient and qualitative analysis of both processes,
products as well as affective implications.
The evolution of our society at the beginning of the third millennium is
organically interwoven in the “paradigm of happiness” of any social,
economic, political or educational approach. The competitive conditions of
present-day developments only requires the discovery of ever new educational
strategies, resources, and solutions. A new curriculum based on
affective-empathic studying will only ensure a healthy and sustainable
background of personal and interpersonal development, thus diminishing the
percentage of human annihilation and frustrations so often encountered
nowadays. As a result, an affective curriculum built all along its segments
on empathy and mutual respect would definitely lead to a continuously
rewarding process of progress within all layers of our global society.
1. Gardner, H., ‘Multiple Intelligences. The Theory in Practice”, Basic
2. Goleman, D., “Social Intelligence. The New Science of Human
Relationships”, Arrow Book, 2007
3. Gould, M.& Jones, M., “Edexcel GCSE Drama”, Student Book, Pearson , 2009
4. Kihlstrom, J.& Cantor, N., “Social Intelligence”, in Robert Sternberg,
“Handbook of Intelligence”, CUP, 2000
5. Mayer, J. et alia, “Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Findings,
Implications”, Psychological Inquiry, 60, 2004
6. Rogers, C.R., “A deveni o persoană. Perspectiva unui psihoterapeut”,
Editura 3, 2008
7. Scriven, M., Paul, R., “Critical Thinking”, 1987
8. C.N.C., “Ghid metodologic. Aria curriculară limbi moderne şi comunicare”,
9. S.N.E.E., “Ghid de evalaure limbi moderne”, Aramis, 2001
10. Weinberg, A., “Reflections on Big Science”, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
11. www.paulek-man.com .
Monica Giuchici is a member of the English National Committee, author of the English Syllabus for
Essay Writing, has articles published in “Together”, “RATE Magazine”,
“Euphoria”. Teacher of English and teacher-trainer as a result of attending
courses of methodology and quality training in UK and USA. National trainer
for standardizing assessors for the English Olympiad.
and Intercultural Education in Use. Working with ECML Experts to Disseminate
by Ionela Iacob, “A.T. Laurian” National College, Botosani
Keywords: ECML, www.ecml.at, ECML publications, EPOSTL, MARILLE,
ECML (European Centre of Modern Languages), located in Graz, Austria, and
part of the Council of Europe, is the institution which has had a leading
role in language education ever since 1994, when it was created. Its website
(www.ecml.at), its projects, resources, library and publications can be
accessed free of charge by all language teaching professionals who need
assistance in taking foreign language teaching to the next level in 21st
century Europe. The article below introduces four ECML publications (MARILLE,
PLURIMOBIL, EPOSTL and CLIL-LOTE-START) which focus on plurilingual and
intercultural education in use.
Between 26 and 28 March 2014 I participated in Graz, Austria in a workshop
which was meant to produce practical implementation scenarios and plans for
ECML publications and examples of related language activities for
plurilingual education from different national contexts.
What is ECML and what does it do? ECML stands for European Centre of Modern
Languages and is located in Graz, Austria’s second largest city. Founded on
8 April 1994, and consisting of 34 member states, ECML is an institution
which is part of the Council of Europe, the oldest and geographically the
largest of the European organisations. The latter has been active in the
area of language education since the 1960s and its activities in this field
aim to promote plurilingualism and pluriculturalism among citizens with a
view to combating intolerance and xenophobia, protecting and developing the
linguistic heritage and cultural diversity of Europe, facilitating personal
mobility and promoting large-scale plurilingualism.
The above mentioned workshop held in Graz focused on an ECML project
entitled PIU – Publications for plurilingual and intercultural education in
use, easily accessible on the ECML website (www.ecml.at) at www.ecml.at/PIU.In
an extremely pleasant multicultural, plurilingual working environment, the
representatives of the 34 member states which include Romania spent three
fruitful days of conceiving practical implementation scenarios and plans for
four ECML publications: CLIL – LOTE – START (Content and Language Integrated
Learning in languages other than English – http://clil-lote-start.ecml.at ),
EPOSTL (European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages –
http://epostl2.ecml.at), MARILLE (Promoting plurilingualism. Majority
Language in multilingual settings – http://marille.ecml.at ) and Plurimobil
(Mobility programmes for plurilingual and intercultural education – http://plurimobil.ecml.at
). All four publications are extremely useful tools not only for English
teachers, but for all teachers of languages, education authorities and
teacher trainers, as they offer ready-made instruments by highly proficient
experts in language education. The publications can be downloaded free of
charge in pdf format from the ECML website, the RESOURCES section.
The first publication I would like to submit to your attention is MARILLE
(Majority language in multi-lingual settings) which is meant for majority
language teachers of secondary schools, but also for teacher trainers,
curriculum developers and school administrators. It is common knowledge that
foreign language teachers usually receive more training to teach a language
as a second language or to develop de plurilingual repertoire of their
learners than the teachers of majority languages (Spanish in Spain, Romanian
in Romania, German in Austria). However, in today’s society and for a
multitude of reasons, learners bring many different languages to school,
with the result that the teaching of the majority language has to extend
beyond teaching it as a first language and adopt elements of second language
teaching. The MARILLE publication aims to encourage teachers to promote
plurilingualism in majority language teaching, thus becoming agents of
reform. This can be achieved through a plethora of actions ranging from
small-scale ones (lesson-planning, relating to a specific point of grammar)
to strategic approaches involving head teachers and parents. Besides a clear
definition of what MARILLE is and what it does, the publication also
comprises examples of plurilingualism in practice and last but not least, a
section of checklists – reflective questions on promoting plurilingualism
for different roles in education: teachers, teacher educators and head
teachers. All in all, a well – devised tool for all teachers who want to
become active participants in 21st century European language education.
The next publication really well-worth downloading and using from the ECML
website is PLURIMOBIL, standing for Mobility programmes for sustainable
plurilingual and intercultural learning. The project, whose working
languages are English and French, is about promoting good practice in
mobility programmes, developing linguistic and intercultural competences
based on the use of a tool developed by the Council of Europe. Also, the
project and the publication based on it aim to provide model learning
scenarios for trainee teachers and students in upper secondary education, be
it general or vocational. Hence, the target audience involved in the
project’s activities: teachers, teacher educators, personnel responsible for
curriculum design, development and implementation (ministry, officials,
school principals, head teachers), personnel responsible in general for
international exchange and, not in the least, organisers of mobility
programmes. PLURIMOBIL is an excellent tool as it deals with the process of
mobility programmes as a whole: the preparatory stages of the study-abroad
programme, the time spent abroad, the post – mobility programme experience
and follow-up phase. What is more, for pedagogical monitoring of mobility
experiences (both real and virtual) a double learning scenario (teachers in
training and students in primary and secondary school) has been developed,
including other Council of Europe tools which can be found on the ECML
website (http://plurimobil.ecml.at). To sum up all the features of
PLURIMOBIL, it must be said that it adapts the material to various
vocational contexts so as to make it usable by both students and teachers;
it develops a concept of implementation in different institutional settings
and for different stakeholders; it includes examples of good practice on the
website and a comprehensible and concise guide for each level of education
targeted by the scenarios. I highly recommend PLURIMOBIL for its utility and
In close relationship with PLURIMOBIL is EPOSTL (European Portfolio for
Student Teachers of Languages), a tool for reflection and self-assessment of
the didactic knowledge and skills necessary to teach languages built on
insights from Common European Framework of Reference, the European Language
Portfolio and the European Profile for Language Teacher Education. A measure
of both the success and the necessity of EPOSTL is its translation into
twelve European and Asian languages four years after its initial
publication, so in order to meet widespread demand, this ECML publication
provides materials which support its implementation in teacher education.
Also, it presents examples, discussions and research findings of how the
EPOSTL is used in initial teacher education courses, in bi-lateral teacher
education programmes and in teaching practice. What exactly does EPOSTL
contain? A personal statement section, to help students about to begin their
teacher education to reflect on general questions related to teaching; a
self-assessment section, which contains 195 ‘can-do’ descriptors relating to
didactic competences; a dossier, in which students or in-training teachers
can document progress and record examples of work relevant to their teacher
education and their future profession. As strategic measures for introducing
the EPOSTL in a particular country or institution, there exists an
accompanying folder and flyer feature, amongst others. From my own point of
view, EPOSTL should be adopted and used by each and every teacher trainer as
it offers invaluable opportunities for the student’s / in training teacher’s
self-assessment and an efficient instrument for evaluation at various stages
of training. Thus, progress becomes immediately visible for both the
trainers and the trainees.
The fourth PIU project and its respective downloadable publication
disseminated at the PIU workshop in Graz was CLIL-LOTE-START (Content and
language integrated learning through languages other than English). It may
be said that the educational approach of CLIL is yesterday’s news, as it is
now well-known in Europe, way beyond expert circles. And yet, practical
examples of organisation and development of CLIL are still mostly confined
to the context of the English medium CLIL. Therefore, in order to diversify
the educational approach of CLIL and to contribute to European education for
multilingualism, an information brochure was issued by ECML and a rich
online portal presenting examples of good practice in the area of CLIL was
created. These two both focus on German as a CLIL language. The media
platform is hosted by the University of Tampere, Finland and contains videos
and other materials showcasing the rich diversity of CLIL. It includes
documentaries which cover a wide range of teaching and learning contexts,
all attractive and easy to use in class, as well as advice and ideas for
implementing and further developing CLIL, using German as an example of both
target and working language. Nevertheless, CLIL-LOTE-START is not meant for
use only by secondary teachers. It is for anyone interested in timely
approaches to education, especially with respect to plurilingual and
intercultural competences: teacher educators, language planning officers,
advisors and research staff in the field of applied linguistics, foreign
language acquisition and CLIL education.
Most of us are probably aware of the existence of EDL, European Day of
Languages (in Romania – ZEL, Ziua Europeana a Limbilor), celebrated for a
number of years on 26 September. Fewer, however, know that EDL is an
initiative of the Council of Europe and ECML. My main aim in writing this
article is to promote not only the European Centre of Modern Languages, part
of the Council of Europe, but also its publications, projects, resources and
expertise in language education. The website www.ecml.at and the ECML
publications are here to assist us in more than one way to become agents of
reform and efficient language teaching professionals. So why not use ECML
resources, website and publications in order to develop as teachers and to
raise awareness in our students, our in-training teachers and ultimately in
the entire Romanian society that being part of Europe is being tolerant,
plurilingual and multiculturally open-minded?
Bibliography: www.ecml.at, ECML publications;
Ionela Iacob has been a teacher of English at A.T. Larian National College in Botosani
since 1991; a speaking examiner at A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 levels for the
British Council since 2006; teacher trainer; ECML expert since March 2014;
BA and MA in psychology since 2009.
in the 21st Century. Online Resources for Teachers of English
by Cristina Barbu, Colegiul Romano-Catolic Sf. Iosif, Bucuresti
Keywords: online resources; increasing students’ motivation to learn;
videos, music and films; my favourite websites; teaching tips
There are many teachers who would like to use technology in class
but do not know where and how to start or think that it is a costly and time
consuming experience. This article tries to offer a starting point,
providing a set of online resources, while proving that using technology in
class can be very easy and rewarding for both the teacher and the students.
“Today you won’t need your books, you can put them away – we’ll have a
special class”. This is one of the most exciting things a teacher can say in
a classroom. Regardless of students’ age you will see enthusiasm emerging
and motivation increase before even mentioning what exactly the class would
be about. Under these circumstances it is very important not to follow up
with a disappointing expression like “we’ll have a test” or, even worse,
“please come to the front of the class and say the lesson for today”.
Here are some phrases that made my students happy and kept their motivation
“We’ll watch a movie today!” Films are fun, we all like them. The most
difficult aspect is to find those that have educational value and help us in
our teaching. Otherwise we end up turning our lessons into a
popcorn-and-coke session and waste students’ precious learning time. The
numerous educational sitcoms produced by leading schools of English
worldwide are, in my opinion, a very good choice. They consist of a
challenging story divided into short and fun episodes followed by more or
less extensive explanations concerning the grammar and vocabulary used,
culture and civilization issues, using English in a natural way and so on.
Students can then express their opinions about the events, guess what would
happen next or simply comment upon a character’s deeds. One great thing
about this is that you have a native teacher of English explaining how the
English language works. The students will definitely appreciate it. Besides,
these episodes take only about 30 minutes, leaving time for discussions,
additional explanations or exercises, or anything you might consider
necessary for your students to have a full learning experience. Depending on
students’ level, you can choose sitcoms with or without subtitles.
“Today we’ll discuss (the plural of nouns or the use of past tense and
present perfect, or anything you have planned for the lesson). However, I’ve
invited a native speakerof English to explain this to you”. Apart from the
sitcoms, there is also plenty of up to 15 minute-videos explaining almost
any issue in the English language. These are also delivered by experienced
native-speaker teachers. One of my favourite websites producing these
resources is EngVid.com. There is a great variety of issues covered, the
teachers are fun and there is a quiz on each topic that students can do in
class or as homework.
“We’ll listen to music today!” That’s another way to bring happiness into
your classroom. Depending on students’ age, they can bring their own music
or you can prepare a selection of songs. There are songs for all ages on
YouTube and you can choose whether to watch the videos while listening or
project karaoke versions for students to focus on the lyrics. I am using
traditional songs like `I’m a little teapot`, `Five little monkeys`,
`Hickory dickory dock` with my young students, but also songs that teach
them colours, shapes, the sounds that animals make, jobs, means of
transport, shops, feelings – every piece of vocabulary I need to teach them.
These are usually produced by leading schools of English and are
age-appropriate. Instead of just listening and singing along, they can see –
and the visual impact is essential especially with young learners. There are
also videos that help you teach simple sentence patterns. It is like using
virtual flashcards instead of the printed ones, which provides fun and
variation for students, and economy and mobility for teachers. With older
students I use their favourite songs – and introducing some of my favourites.
I particularly like the lyricstraining.com website. It’s excellent for
improving listening skills and for practising spelling. It is also the most
entertaining homework you can assign, as students have to listen to the song
and fill in with the missing words. If they are not fast enough or if they
misspell a word, the song stops and it only continues when they have
introduced the correct word. If you are using the ICT facilities at school
or assign it as homework, each student can select the individually
appropriate level for each song. If a projector is used in class, then the
beginner mode is probably best to be chosen, as there are fewer words
missing and everybody can follow. Students can then take turns on the
computer and prove their skills in the intermediate or expert modes.
“Shall we use a map to explain this?” Certain issues can be difficult to
both explain and understand using pen and paper only. Last time my class and
I discussed about London, we decided upon a map of the city that included
most of the sights referred to in our lesson, downloaded it and projected it
on one of the walls in the classroom. The result was magnificent. The map
was impressively big and we could `travel` around London for free. Students
got to know various streets and places in London in a fun and natural way.
It was like being there with a map in our hands and having the task to find
various attractions. Instead of using printed maps and working in small
groups, we had the opportunity to work together, as a class, which meant
less noise and more fun – not to mention the great economy of resources by
not having to print maps for each small group! It was then easy to read
texts and learn more about each of these places using the information
provided in the textbook.
“We’ll use this website for the first part of our Culture and civilization
course!” The Internet provides so much information that it often becomes
overwhelming. Whenever culture and civilization-related projects are
required, students find it difficult to select information. They end up
either copy-paste-printing or google-translating information that may not
even be relevant to the topic. Using a certain website instead and having
the students explore it could be an alternative. One website that I find
particularly interesting and appropriate for this approach is
ProjectBritain.com. It includes information on almost every aspect of
British civilization and it is very easy to use. There are also pictures to
match the texts. Students can be given a certain topic each week and asked
to find the information on the website. Having some basic knowledge will
make students’ further research more comfortable and productive. After all,
at school, students should first learn how to learn. They should be given
the basics that would help them become autonomous learners.
All the above mentioned resources are free of charge and all a teacher needs
for using them in class, regardless of the number of students or their age,
is a laptop, a set of speakers, a projector and Internet connection. Special
lessons can be delivered easily, without having to book the ICT facilities
or invest lots of money in class materials.
Online resources referred to in the article:
Cristina Barbu graduated from University of Bucharest, Faculty of
Foreign Languages and Literatures, with a major in Japanese language and a
Masters in Asian Cultural Studies. She has been awarded two grants, one in
Osaka, Japan and one in Tokyo, Japan where she experienced the Japanese
approach on education. She currently teaches English at St. Joseph’s
Roman-Catholic School in Bucharest.
Copyright © Romanian Association of Teachers of English
ISSN 1844 – 6159
Edited by Ovidiu Aniculaese