RATE ISSUES SUMMER / 2014  

In this issue:
 

 

ISSN 1844 – 6159

Editor's Notes:

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

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 Bringing Films to Your Class. Ideas to Do It Better
by Georgeta Rarinca and Pollyanna Opris, Nicolae Balcescu High School, Cluj-Napoca

Key Words: watching films, modern technique, video-feedback technique, experience, creative energies, innovative teachers, film review

Abstract
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 advanced learners.

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 is.
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 class.
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 speaking.
1. Previewing

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 deal

• 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.

Bibliography

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 1990
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 1993
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

Biodata
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.
 

 

 Activities to Overcome EFL Learners’ Pronunciation Problems
by
Diana Achmad & Yunisrina Qismullah Yusuf
Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh, Indonesia


Keywords: Classroom activities, English pronunciation, NNS learners, learning pronunciation, phonological difficulties.
 

Abstract
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.

Introduction
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.

Sound
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,
ɪ, e, ɛ, , ə, ɚ, ɝ, u, ʊ, o, ʌ, ɔ, ɑ/ and three diphthongs /aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ/ (Smit, 2007), thus, in Received Pronunciation (UK) there are 12 vowels /i, ɪ, ɛ, , a, ə, ɜ, u, ʊ, ʌ, ɔ, ɒ/ and 8 diphthongs /aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ, eɪ, oʊ, ɪə, ɛə, ʊə/ (Howard, 2007). English further has 24 consonants /p, b, t, d, k, ɡ, m, n, ŋ, θ, , f, v, s, z, ʃ, ʒ, h, ʧ, ʤ, j, w, ɹ, l/ (Smit, 2007). Whilst Indonesian has only six vowels /i, e, a, ə, o, u/ and three diphthongs /aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ/ (Swan & Smith, 2001) and 24 consonants /p, b, m, w, f, v, t, d, s, z, n, l, r, ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, ɲ, j, k, g, x, ŋ, Ɂ, 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 /ɡɪɒtehnɪkl/ by our respondent.
• The respondent had produced the words as they are spelled, such as /haik/ for high and /ˈsev
ərəl/ for several.
• Consonant clusters at the end of the words, such as /-n
ɵ/ 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 produce /ɵ/ and /ʃ/ at the end of English words, respectively.
• The dental fricative //, which does not exist in Indonesian, was generally produced as alveolar stop /d/, for instance /der/ for there and /’
brʌdər/ for brother.
• 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 /əˈgəʊ/  became /əˈgo/ for ago.
• 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
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:
 

                             

 My hobby is playing football.

                                           

 I had 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.

Method
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 hours.

Results
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, 2009).

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:
 

        /ɵ/ and // (for month and brother)

        /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ (for finish and vision)                      

        ʊ/ and /ɔ:/ (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.

Listening Dictation
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.

Speaking Activities
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.

Conclusion
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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Stephens, C., Ascencio, R., Burgos, A. L., Diaz, T., Montenegro, J., & Valenzuela, C. (2012). Film circles: Scaffolding speaking for EFL students. English Teaching Forum, 50(2), 14-20.
Swan, M., & Smith, B. (2001). Learner English: A teacher’s guide to interference and other problems (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wells, J. (2008). Goals in teaching English pronunciation. In K. Dziubalska-Kołaczyk & J. Przedlacka (Eds.), English pronunciation models: A changing scene (pp. 101-110). Bern: Peter Lang.

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, Malaysia.






 

 

 

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

Abstract
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 practically.
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.


Biodata

Elisabeta Maxim, MA is a teacher of English at “Stefan cel 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

by Lacrimioara Nasui, “Constantin Brncuşi” 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
 

Abstract
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 globe.
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
Features Benefits
LCCI brand renowned for over 100 years in over 80 counties Well established and internationally recognized certificates to provide the students with global marketability
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 time)
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 time)
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 conversations.
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 questions)
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 multiple-choice questions)

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; 60-120 minutes)
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 formats)
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)


Bibliography:
1. Brochure LCCI International Qualifications from EDI
2. Web-site: www.lcci.org.uk
3. LCCI workshop for teachers

Biodata

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.
 

 

 

 The 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, scaffolding, avatars.
 

Abstract

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.


I. PREMISE
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 third millennium.

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 syllabi.
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)
Synchronicity
( perfect nonverbal interaction)
Regulation
(maximum receptivity and staying on the same wavelength)
Personal representation
(personalized answer adapted to the stimuli)
Empathic accuracy
(understanding the interlocutor’s thoughts, feelings, intentions) Influence
(modeling the result of social interaction)
Social knowledge
(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”, 2007)
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 strategies.
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 themselves, etc.
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 Self-evaluation grid
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.

V. CONCLUSIONS
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.
 

VI. BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Gardner, H., ‘Multiple Intelligences. The Theory in Practice”, Basic Books, 1993
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”, 2002
9. S.N.E.E., “Ghid de evalaure limbi moderne”, Aramis, 2001
10. Weinberg, A., “Reflections on Big Science”, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967
11. www.paulek-man.com .

Biodata

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.
 

 Plurilingual and Intercultural Education in Use. Working with ECML Experts to Disseminate ECML Publications

by Ionela Iacob, “A.T. Laurian” National College, Botosani
 

Keywords: ECML, www.ecml.at, ECML publications, EPOSTL, MARILLE, CLIL-LOTE-START, PLURIMOBIL;

Abstract
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 versatility.
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;
 

Biodata

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.

 

 

 Teaching 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
 

Abstract

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 high.
“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:
 

http://www.lyricstraining.com/
http://projectbritain.com/
http://www.engvid.com/
http://www.youtube.com/


Biodata

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