Analysis. Good Feedback for Teachers
by Elisabeta Maxim, School No. 2, Botoşani
Keywords: research, errors vs. mistakes, Second Language Acquisition, interlanguage, intralanguage, secondary school
In the past forty years, studies of second language learning have occupied a
central place in the field of linguistics. Among the various aspects in such
developmental studies, learner’s language has been the highlight in the
field of second language acquisition. The term second language acquisition
refers to the subconscious or conscious process by which a language other
than the mother tongue is learnt in a natural or a tutored setting .
By trying to identify sources of error we can begin to arrive at an
understanding of how the learner’s cognitive and affective self relates to
the linguistic system and to formulate an integrated understanding of the
process of second language acquisition. The beginning stages of learning a
second language are characterized by a good deal of interlingual transfer
from the native language, or interference.
According to Selinker, ‘interlanguage refers to the separateness of a second
language learners’ system, a system that has a structurally intermediate
status between the native and target languages’ . Nemser referred to the
same general phenomenon in second language learning, but stressed the
successive approximation to the target language in his term approximate
system . Corder used the term idiosyncratic dialect to connote the idea that
the learner’s language is unique to a particular individual, that the rules
of the learners’ language are peculiar to the language of that individual
alone . While each of these designations emphasizes a particular idea, they
share the notion that second language learners form their own language
Brown and Ellis gave a detailed account of and exemplified a model for error
analysis offered by Corder. Ellis and Hubbard et al. on the other hand, gave
practical advice and provided clear examples of how to identify and analyze
learners’ errors . The initial step requires the selection of a corpus of
language followed by the identification of errors by making a distinction
between a mistake (i.e. caused by lack of attention, carelessness or some
aspect of performance) and an error. The errors are, then classified as
overt and covert errors . The next step after giving a grammatical analysis
of each error, demands an explanation of different types of errors that
correspond to different processes. Selinker reported five such processes
central to second language learning: ‘language transfer, transfer of
training, strategies of second language learning, strategies of second
language communication, and overgeneralization TL [Target Language]
linguistic material .’ In the literature, the studies relating to the
process of language transfer, and overgeneralization have received
There are many ways to describe the progression of linguistic development
that learners manifest as their attempts of production successively
approximate the target language. According to H. D. Brown, there are four
stages of IL development.
1. The first is a stage of random errors, called also presystematic, in
which the learner doesn’t know that there are some systematic orders to a
particular class of items.
2. The second stage or the emergent stage is when the learner becomes
consistent in linguistic production. The learner has begun to discern a
system and to internalize certain rules. This stage is characterized by some
“backsliding”, in which the learner seems to have grasped a rule or
principle and then regresses to some previous stage. Generally the learner
is still unable to correct errors when they are pointed out by someone else.
3. The third stage is a systematic stage in which the learner is now able to
show more consistency in producing the second language. While those rules
are not “well-formed”, they are more internally self-consistent and they are
more closely approximating the target language system. The difference
between the second and the third stage is the ability of learners to correct
their errors when they are pointed out to them.
4. The fourth stage is the stabilization stage. Here the learner has
relatively few errors and has mastered the system to the point that fluency
and intended meaning are not problematic. This fourth stage is characterized
by the learners’ ability to self-correct.
It should be pointed out that the four stages outlined above do not describe
a learner’s total second language system. We would find it hard to assert,
for example, that a learner is an emerged stage, globally, for all of the
linguistic subsystems of language. One might be in second stage with respect
to the perfect-tense system, and in third or four stage when it comes to
simple present and past tenses .
Closely related to the study of Interlanguage are two traditional
approaches: Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis (EA). Researchers from
the 1940s to the 1960s conducted CA systematically comparing two languages.
Charles Fries, one of the leading applied linguists, stated it in this way:
‘The most efficient materials are those that are based on a scientific
description of the language to be learned, carefully compared with a
parallel description of the native language of the learner.’ By the 1970s,
however, their positions about the predictive power of CA and about the
relationship between L1 and L2 learning faced serious challenges. Empirical
research seemed to show that significant learning difficulties are not
necessary due to the differences between L1 and L2.
Error analysis, offered as an alternative to Contrastive Analysis, has its
value in the classroom research. Whereas contrastive analysis, which may be
least predictive at the syntactic level and at early stages of language
learning , allows for prediction of the difficulties involved in acquiring a
second language , error analysis emphasizing ‘the significance of errors in
learners’ interlanguage system’ may be carried out directly for pedagogic
Research Approach - Group description
A data based analysis of IL has been also made. The class is an intermediate
level English class. There are twenty-three students (12 males and 11
females) who attend English classes for one hour, twice a week. By the use
of quantitative analysis, IL errors from the perspective of language
knowledge, intralingual errors, interlingual errors and error sources have
been scrutinized. The purpose is to find the distribution and the frequency
of IL errors in order to gain some insights into English language learning.
This study will investigate some problems in the acquisition of English
language by intermediate level English learners. We can find out what their
dominant errors are and which stage their English level stays at when
quantitative analysis of the occurrence of errors from different aspects
will be scrutinized.
Fluency and correctness of our language expression can be fully detected in
a composition, which represents one’s ability to use a foreign language
correctly. Therefore, in order to detect and describe students’ knowledge,
this paper seeks to investigate their language output by analyzing the type
and source of the errors the students made.
According to Carl James, ‘we recognize just three levels of language: the
levels of substance, text and discourse.’ Because some errors require
semantic and discourse competence for recognition, the research concentrates
on errors that can be recognized syntactically from grammar aspects, which
belongs to the text level, while other two kinds of error levels are ignored
here. Researchers have found that the early stages of language learning are
characterized by a predominance of interference, but once learners have
begun to acquire parts of the new system, more and more intralingual
transfer-generalization within the target language – is manifested. Since
these two categories are so important, the study also categorizes errors
into these two categories accordingly and spends more space on discussing
sources of these two.
At the preliminary stage, the tests were corrected. The sentences were then
examined to see whether they were overtly and/or covertly idiosyncratic, the
former being identified by comparing the students’ sentences with those of
the reconstructed target-language ones.
The types of errors were selected for analysis based on frequency of
occurrence. The resulting data was then investigated in detail, resulting in
a number of several different categories, as was predicted. The errors were
then explained and thoroughly examined to find the sources of errors due to
L1 and L2 transfer, paying particular attention to negative transfer.
Error analysis research has limited itself to analysing production errors
because reception errors may often go unnoticed as we often remain ignorant
of pupils’ reception errors until these errors reach the production stage.
Explaining errors is the most speculative part of error analysis. Possible
causes may be taken into consideration once an error is identified,
reconstructed and categorized. Broadly speaking, errors will be either
interlingual (negative transfer from Romanian or another language the pupils
speaks) or intralingual (negative transfer within English).
Learners commit errors because their ability to use the target language is
not sufficiently developed. In order to fill the gap between inadequate
proficiency and tough requirements of a task, language learners draw on
different strategies, such as ignorance and avoidance, mother tongue
transference, incomplete rule application, overgeneralization in their IL
forms, which cause different types of errors. Next we offer an analysis of
interlingual and intralingual errors.
When we count the percentage of
thinking-in-Romanian-then-translating-into-English when students write in
English, the answer is even as high as 100 percent for some individuals.
From this statement, we can infer that interlingual errors are quite common
in target language learners’ writing.
‘a decision very important’
‘a laughter colored’
‘the family Smith’
- because in Romanian the usual word order is noun + adjective, they follow
the same pattern in English
Concord between subject and predicate
‘the Smiths is at home’
- collective nouns may be followed either by a singular verb or a plural
one; but here the noun family is thought of as a group of individuals so it
takes a plural verb
‘it’s saturday night’
- calendar items are proper nouns in English and are spelt with a capital
Lack of the preposition
‘tourists come here summer’
‘… when I go to school morning’
‘they are home’
- nouns such as morning, summer or home are not preceded by a preposition in
Collocation or word choice
‘he takes breakfast’
‘one of the passengers is looking on the window’
‘we are travelling in London’
‘Mrs. Smith is listening a concert’
‘to go at school’
- the students have translated the phrases (to have breakfast, to look out
of the window, to travel to, to listen to or to go to) not taking into
consideration the fact that they require a certain word choice in English
Use of adjectives instead of adverbs
‘he takes breakfast so silent’
- the use of adjectives instead of adverbs is due to the fact that the
adverb have most of the time the same form in Romanian as the corresponding
‘many tourists come here on summer’
‘we are in train’
‘Mrs. Peggoty and I were sitting next to the fire’
‘Mrs. Peggoty and I were sitting near the fire’
‘Mrs. Peggoty and I were sitting along the fire’
‘listen a concert to the radio’
‘a concert at the radio’
- the wrong choice is due to the fact that in Romanian we use another
‘… I passed my last exam’
- the latest means the most recent, the last up to now, while the last means
the final; the student has chosen the wrong form because in Romanian there
is only one form for both of them
Misuse of the definite article
‘travel to the London’
- before names of towns zero article is used in English, but because in
Romanian Londra seems articulated the student used the definite article
Present Tense instead of Present Continuous
‘… we are in train now and we travel to London. One of the passengers looks
on the window, another one reads a book and another two speak’
Present Continuous instead of Present Simple
‘Our guides are speaking three-four foreign languages, because o lot of
tourists are coming here in the summer to spend…’
- in Romanian there is only one present tense so it is difficult for the
students to distinguish between a general, repeated, habitual action and an
action in progress at the moment of speaking, especially when there are no
time indicators in the sentence.
Most linguists of second language acquisition have tended to accept many of
the errors caused by incomprehensive understanding and incorrect application
of the target language during the period of internalization. These errors
are called intralingual and development errors, which will be discussed in
terms of overgeneralization, ignorance of rule restriction, incomplete
application of rules and hypothesized false concepts.
‘Intralingual errors reflect the general characteristics of rule learning
such as faulty generalization, incomplete application of rules and failure
to learn conditions under which rules apply.’
Preposition by used with means of transport
‘we are being by train now’
- whenever we show how we travel we use the preposition by + the noun
expressing the means of transport (We usually go to work by bus, but today
we are going by taxi.); but by is not used when the above nouns are preceded
by a possessive adjective or by the articles a or the; in such cases the
preposition in is used with the noun car, and on with the nouns bicycle,
motorbike as well as with the nouns indicating means of transport (He didn’t
go to London on a motorbike, but on the train.)
Present Continuous of the verb to be
‘we are being by train now’
- the student knows he has to use the Present Continuous, but he does not
know that the verbs expressing a state or a condition are not normally used
in a continuous aspect
Use of the gerund instead of the infinitive of purpose
‘tourists come here in the summer spending …’
- the infinitive is used to express purpose (tourists come here to spend)
Past tense –ed of an irregular verb
‘We heared the door.’
- hear is an irregular verb so the Past Tense of the verb is not formed with
the final ending –ed
Use of the preposition with the moments of the day
‘It’s Saturday in the evening.’
Long infinitive following a modal
‘I should to help my parents’
- a common characteristic of modal verbs is that they are followed by Short
Infinitives (except ought to and used to)
Final –s after irregular plurals
‘I never have an appetite when I eat with old peoples.’
- the general rule of making plurals is to add -s or -es to the singular
form of the noun; some of the nouns though have irregular plurals
‘It’s night Saturday.’
-ing adjective instead of -ed adjective
‘I grew tired of reading and became very boring.’
Use of wrong final ending to form the adverb
‘he takes his lunch so quietful…’
‘very much tourists’
Wrong indefinite pronoun
‘we don’t hear something’
- the pupils are not associating the right form to the right concept or
Most students tend to lay stress on the acquisition of the meaning of words.
All these have led to literal translations of some words and phrases from
Romanian to English on the part of the learner. That is mother tongue
interference. Therefore, it is high time the students changed their ways of
acquiring English vocabulary.
As discussed at the beginning of our research, the negative transfer as
demonstrated in writing is a reflection of the difficulty that the students
encounter in Second Language Acquisition. The error transfer suggests that
the learners are confused about the essential differences between those
forms or structures that they think to be similar within the two languages.
Moreover, results from error transfer indicate that the subjects have
reported to have difficulty, to some degree, in telling cross-linguistic
differences. Therefore, some information about contrastive studies of the
two languages is needed so as to help students to see more clearly some of
the problems they encounter.
Intralingual errors still play a significant role in students’ writing.
Overgeneralization, ignorance of rule restriction, incomplete application of
rules is due to students’ poor command of grammar structures. In the basic
stage, students should focus their energy on the grammar courses.
By the quantitative analysis of IL errors from the dimension of grammatical
rules and error source, the frequency and distribution of IL errors have
mainly been scrutinized. This process led us find what kind of IL errors
influence IL development. Accordingly we have given some suggestions on the
knowledge of second language acquisition. The major findings of this study
can be summarized as follows:
a. After three years of study only four students are in their ‘systematic
stage’, five are in a transitional stage between ‘systematic stage’ and
‘emergent stage’ and the rest are in an ‘emergent stage’.
b. Interlingual errors are committed most often by this group of
intermediate English learners. We can infer that the interference of mother
tongue still play a significant role in these students’ language system.
c. Apart from native language interference, target language interference
affects the acquisition of the foreign language seriously.
d. Students should be exposed more to English because there is a long way
for them to reach the final stage – the stabilization stage.
However, the study is limited in the following aspects. Firstly, due to the
time and difficulty in analyzing IL errors, the number of samples collected
is somehow limited. Secondly, in the process of categorizing interlingual
and intralingual errors, some sources identified maybe overlapping with each
other, i.e. some errors maybe attributed to two or more sources.
Ellis, R., 1999, Understanding Second Language Acquisition, Oxford
University Press, pg. 6
Selinker, L., 1972, Interlanguage, International Review of Applied
Linguistics, pg. 201
Nemser, W., 1971, Approximate systems of foreign language learners,
International Review of Applied Linguistics, pg. 9
Corder, S.Pit., 1971, Idiosyncratic dialects and error analysis,
International Review of Applied Linguistics, pg. 151
Hubbard, P., Jones, H., Thornton, B. and Wheeler, R., 1996, A Training
Course for TEFL, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pg. 135-141
Brown, H., 1994, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice Hall Regents, pg. 208
Selinker, L., 1974, ‘Interlanguage’. In Richards, J. (Ed.), Error analysis:
Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition, Essex: Longman, pg. 35
Fries, C., 1945, Teaching and learning English as a foreign language,
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, pg. 213
Odlin, T., 2001, Language Transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language
learning, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, pg. 9
Corder, S. Pit., 1967, The significance of learners’ errors, International
Review of Applied Linguistics, pg. 17
Brown, H. 1994, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice Hall Regents, pg. 214
Richards, J., 1974. ‘A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis’, in
Richards, J. (Ed.), Error analysis: Perspectives on Second Language
Acquisition, Essex: Longman, pg. 172
Brown, H., 1994, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice Hall Regents, pg. 204
Ellis, R., 1995, Understanding Second Language Acquisition, Oxford: Oxford,
University Press, pg. 51
Carl, J., 2001, Errors in Language learning and Use: Exploring Error
Analysis, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, pg. 129
Fries, C., 1945, Teaching and learning English as a foreign language,
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, pg. 214
Richards, J., 1971, A non-contrastive approach to error analysis, English
Language Teaching Journal, pg 175-187
Brown, H. D., 2002, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Foreign
Language Teaching and Research Press, pg. 204
Stereotyped Identity and Media Literacy.
Towards Globalized Communication and Uniformity
by Gabriela Pachia, M.A.,
Colegiul Naţional Bănăţean, Timişoara
slogans, awareness, critical thinking, deconstructivism, identity, media
“Intelligence is programmed to engender dissimilarities.”
Due to the distressing ever-increasing number of signs in our modern /
postmodern world, today’s students should become aware of the impact
semiotics has upon all spheres of life / popular culture, so as to properly
decode the variegated messages sent through multimodal ways of
communication. Globalization, including immigration, has engendered a new
concept – “multiliteracies” – which implies the teaching / the acquiring of
representations of meaning, i.e. linguistic, visual, audio, spacial,
gestural, and multimodal (The New London Group, 1996). Besides becoming
acquainted with signs / icons and codes, students should develop their
critical thinking, alongside producing / communicating meaning.
“Media literacy is an expanded conceptualization of literacy” (wiki) which
involves the changes in communication due to the new multimedia technology
and the social / cultural conditions, the term being interchangeable with
the concepts of “media education”, “media study”, “critical-mindedness”,
being also related to “semiotic literacy”, “information literacy”. “Media
literacy is the skill of experiencing, interpreting / analyzing, and making
media products” (WorSi). Nowadays, being literate means being able to
“decode, understand, evaluate and write through, and with, all forms of
media, read, evaluate and create text, images and sounds, or any combination
of these elements. In other words, literate individuals must possess media
literacy as well as print literacy, numeral literacy and technological
literacy” (BarL). Media literacy consists of “examining the techniques,
technologies, and institutions involved in media production; being able to
critically analyze media messages; and recognizing the role audiences play
in making meaning from those messages” (SheW, 9). Media literacy strives “to
empower citizens and to transform their passive relationship to media into
an active, critical engagement – capable of challenging the traditions and
structures of a privatized, commercial media culture, and finding new
avenues of citizen speech and discourse” (BowC, 22). Media education “is
essentially active and participatory, fostering the development of more open
and democratic pedagogues. It encourages students to take more
responsibility for and control over their own learning, to engage in joint
planning of the syllabus, and to take longer-term perspectives on their own
While strongly asserting that “you can judge a person by the questions they
ask”, we derive confirmation from a Chinese proverb: “One who asks a
question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains
a fool forever”. As an inquiry-based instructional model, media literacy
facilitates understanding of the strengths and limitations of each medium,
the “hidden” / subliminal layers connected with media ownership, ideological
power, profit, propaganda, the biases of communication, misrepresentation /
manipulation, censorship, independent media etc. By the active and critical
consumption of the media, students gain awareness of the real and virtual
worlds and identities continuously enforced upon them.
Deconstructivism plays an important part in a world of constructed messages
which assume the identity of natural ones. Television is a powerful source
of social learning, meant to shape attitudes, social and consumer behaviours,
and people’s worldviews. Nevertheless, the critical study of televisual
texts reveals standardization, the proliferation of hatred, violence, fear,
cynicism, apathy, vulgarity / lowering of moral and educational standards,
and consumerism. The same can be said about the press, the radio, films, the
Internet, billboards, the so-called “new interactive media”, delivering
advertisements, video games, globalized music etc. School should guide and
support students in their investigation of the media. The most frequently
targeted topics for “deconstruction” / “demystification” are portrayals of
different groups of people (teenagers, masculinity, feminity, the family,
the disabled, age groups, ethnic groups etc.), personal and societal values
(e.g. health, entertainment, the environment), stereotypes, the disparity
between the real and the media world, virtual communities, communication,
the semiotics of linguistic signs, of images and sounds etc. Gradually,
students participate as “knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical
members of a variety of literacy communities” (rwt).
As far as critical literacy is concerned, it has been defined as “[habits]
of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning,
first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional
clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning,
root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any
action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject
matter, policy, mass media, or discourse” (Ira Shor, wiki). While becoming
lifelong learners, students should use skills, resources, and tools for the
following purposes: to inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge; to
draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new
situations, and create new areas of knowledge; to share knowledge,
participate ethically and productively as members of a democratic society,
protecting personal as well as social life; to pursue both personal and
aesthetic growth. Consequently, the individual achieves lifelong empowerment
as learner and citizen.
The most frequent questions regarding the media products arise from
Lasswell’s definition of communication: ‘Who is the message intended for?’,
‘Why does it target a particular audience?’, ‘How is the message built?’,
‘From whose perspective is the story told?’, ‘What persuasive strategies
does the message use to get attention and make people feel included?’,
‘Whose voices are heard, and whose are absent?’, ‘Where and when is the
message delivered?’, ‘Which part of reality is shaded?’ etc. Media literacy
incorporates three stages leading to media empowerment: becoming aware of
the importance of managing one’s media ‘diet’ – that is, making choices and
reducing the time spent with television, videos, electronic games, films and
various print media forms”; “learning specific skills of critical viewing –
learning to analyze and question what is in the frame, how it is constructed
and what may have been left out”; “exploring” deeper social, political and
economic issues, how “the mass media drive our global consumer economy”:
“Who produces the media we experience – and for what purpose? Who profits?
Who loses? And who decides?” (Tho3).
The modern globalized media are characterized by severe flaws: the
permanence of entertainment in a society “conquered by communication” (B.
Mičge), the replacement of knowledge by mere information, of substance by
style, violence as the major form of entertainment, the trivialization and
commodification of human relationships, complex alterities, “consumerist
elites”, cosmopolitism, the hyperuse of technology without reflection or
analysis. Global communication implies fast, spectacular and ambivalent
processes: communication is a means of the individual’s emancipation as well
as a means of controlling it. Ever more frequently, it is claimed that the
“human condition” be rethought in the context of interculturalism /
multiculturalism, of “netocracy”, from the point of view of conditionings,
of the interactive feedback. Due to their transnational character, the mass
media – the Internet in particular – have become the emblem of the
The openings towards alterity, the transgression of broders in
communication, the positioning and interrelating in communication (MucAc,
75) involve the consciousness of identity. “Each identity requires the
existence of the other in a relationship due to which its very essence is
being actualized”; “the genuine human communication is founded on these
entwined basic feelings: trust and the feeling that one’s value is
acknowledged” (MucAc, 92; 246). Multicultural life is rendered possible by
the individuals’ consciousness of the inestimable value of their identitary
symbols, on condition that they intentionally participate in the
intercultural dialogue, that they possess flexible thinking and place
themselves within the unifying sphere of Meaning. The new identitary models
imply: “the imitation of the European thinking model” as “the ideological
ingredient of the globalizing processess” (ZăpE, 182); “a language, a
universal means communication”, the internationalization of the vocabulary,
“the languages which substantialize a people’s cultural specificity must
surrender to one language, which nowadays is represented by the English
language” (lingua franca – ZăpE, 184); the language of technology, of the
computer; the resubiectivization of the individual by means of free choices;
“a new kind of socialization, double-oriented, in order to entangle the ens
in society structures while allowing society to enter into man’s soul (...)
globalization and mondialization, if we change our way of being, should also
change our way of thinking, of building ourselves” (ZăpE, 188).
The mass media largely contribute to “cultural dislocation / delocalization
/ relativization” (ZăpE, 180), although, apparently, they enjoy
multifariousness. Paradoxically, “each culture arises from intermingling,
interaction and confrontation. On the contrary, any civilization dies in
isolation” (Octavio Paz); „Culture is not a luxury item, it is a necessity”
(Gao Xingjian). The reasons for media consumption are as follows: “(1)
information, (2) building personal identity, (3) integration and social
interaction, (4) entertainment” (CSN, 236-237). By investigating the
pragmasemantic / rhetoric aspectes of communication via women’s fashion
magazines – customarily written in English, but issued in similar formats,
with identical slogans, in many languages of the world –, we have identified
the de-/reconstruction of identities (CSN, 9; RPref, 305), (linguistic and
visual) connotative manipulation, anthropological mutations, «global»
“creativity”, the reduction of cultural diversity, the inducement of
identitary stereotypes with an obvious utopian character, the publicity
messianism. The language of the fashion magazines – also characterized by
the narcotizing dysfunction, i. e. apathy and inertness – is manipulatory,
striving to annihilate the opposites, to give birth to the consumerist
individual, to shape a unique – altered and fragmentaristic – perspective on
the world. The stereotyped tools employed by mass media in order to belittle
alterity include: “the corporal blackmail of identity”, VIPs, “the ubiquity”
of woman’s body as “the most beautiful piece among consumer goods”, “the
guided narcissism”, “the accumulation of the signs of happiness” (BauSc,
165; 185; 21); “idealized human beings” (DCom, 46-47); the involvement of
emotions: “feelings are crucial” (GodLp, 73); “the subjugation of reasoning”
(TaySc, 80), the association of the product with positive emotions, humour (DCom,
65), the ludic, “the pathos of smiling” (BauSc, 144; 207); intertextuality (DCom,
150); literary means / stylistic codes, superlativization; the sacralization
of the product since “any object is sacralized for merely being
manufactured” (BauSc, 51). The mass media industries achieve “communication
as a conscientious transfer of ideas”, as well as of “mental landscapes /
programmes” (BorSv, 60-66), leading to uniformity.
The 500 slogans / selling propositions selected from fashion magazines which
primarily target women (Harper’s Bazaar, O, The Oprah Magazine,
Cosmopolitan, Elle, Allure, Fitness, Glamour, W, Sparkle, Lucky, Wedding,
Mademoiselle, Best, Platinum, Sexy Dresses, Fashion, Petra, You, In Style,
Vanity Fair, Teen People, Modern Pride, Self, Seventeen etc.) reveal the
generalization of the stereotype language – obviously the English language –
in the publicity industries, the begetting of the standardized identity by
means of constant reinvention. Accordingly, we have traced the following
1. The stereotyped vocabulary is relatively simple, repetitive, referring to
typical thematic areas such as erotism, the parts of speech include the
superlative degree of the adjective, the noun, the cardinal numeral, the
verb in the imperative, the second person pronoun.
2. The standard thematic areas are: fashion, the human body, the lifestyle,
love, beauty, cosmetics, health, sports, diets, tips for special events.
3. The advertising texts consist of noun phrases, simple sentences, while
the compound and complex sentences are avoided.
4. Digits are atypical, shocking / “magic”.
5. The number of iconemes is reduced, constant reference being made to
sacred / mythologizing elements: goddesses, the Paradise, the Bible, angels,
princesses, Prince Charming, Satan, heroes, Wonderland, the Beauty and the
Beast, proverbs / sayings.
6. The stylistic effects are few: plays upon words / puns, antonymy /
paradox, alliteration, repetition.
5. The constant reference to the ego / VIPs creates the illusion of
6. Positive attitudes, glamour, comfort.
7. Consumerism is stimulated by the utopian imagine of reality / the self.
8. The fashion magazine titles resemble the slogans which advertise a brand.
9. The text redundancy and facility shape the feminine personality.
Some typical sets of titles / slogans exemplify woman’s standardized
identity in the fashion magazines:
a. 1. Is Pop’s Reigning Princess Cut Out to Be Queen ?
2. Why Miami Is Trend Central ?
3. How to Dive Happily Into Life ?
4. Did She Have Plastic Surgery ?
5. Will Your Relationship Survive ?
b. 1. Let the Sun Shine In ! 50 ways to brighten your look
2. Look at Me ! 50 celebrities as they see themselves
3. Let a celeb dress you for your big day !
4. Get Slim, Gain Energy ! Banish Cellulite for Good !
5. Style Yourself like a Lucky Pro !
c. 1. The Secrets to Great Personal Style
2. The Fashion Bible
3. Celebrity Style Tricks
4. Chic Essentials
5. Mysteries of the Jewellery World
d. 1. Chic, Sexy, Cool : looking hot has never been easier
2. Fabulous at Every Age : Get Irresistible Lips !
3. Gorgeous Skin, Flawless Skin
4. Cute Looks : Astonishing but True : a Crash Diet
5. Happy and Rich : Money, Faith and Health
e. 1. 9 Love Lies Guys tell
2. 116 Fashion FindsYou’ll Love
3. 621 Ways to Update Your Look
4. 30 Beauty Boosters
5. Superstar Style : 16 fresh looks for day
f. 1. Best of the Best
2. Live Your Best Life : Very Best Fashion Choices
3. Fashion : Best of What’s New
4. Best Beauty Buys
5. Best Bag and Shoe
g 1. Be a Sun Goddess without the Sun !
2. Wonderland ! Ultimate Fashion Fairytale
3. The Pop Princess Grows Up
4. Belle of the Ball – a Modern Day Fairytale
5. An Angel’s Impact : Beauty and the Beast
h. 1. Get the thinnest hair, clearest skin, longest lashes
2. The Season’s Coolest Hair Cuts
3. Spring Hottest Colours – 100 Hottest Holiday Gifts
4. The New Supersexy Jeans
5. The Newest Wonder Skin Ingredient
i. 1. Oprah Does Lunch
2. Britney Spears : Nobody’s Angel
3. Meg Ryan Goes Sexy in Gucci
4. Christina Aguilera Finally Opens Up
5. Madonna: My Loves, My Stress
j. 1. 111 Perfect Gifts
2. Inside the Perfect Marriage
3. We Found Your Perfect Pair
4. The Perfect Hair for You
5. Perfect Skin Secrets
k. 1. Chic and Unique
2. Romance Returns
3. Like Mother, Like Daughter
4. Glorious Gifts for Every Person on Your List
l. 1. The Good Part Starts When Romance Ends
2. 39 Good Ways To Be a Little Bit Bad
3. Two Foolish Habits of Otherwise Smart People
4.The worst fight of your marriage could be the best thing you ever did
5. Affordable Luxuries
m. 1. Glitter and Glow
2. Sparkling Eyes : Easy, Sexy Makeup
3. Dazzling Diamonds
4. Glamorous Christmas Gifts
5. Age Briliantly !
The message industry “induces thinking and behaviour stereotypes”, false
needs (RGI, 37), with pernicious effects on the confused individual, forging
the “unidimensional” man (Herbert Marcuse, 1964, Apud CSN, 178). The
stereotype beliefs “are fixed in long-lasting «preconceived» patterns, that
is they do not rely on the direct observation of phenomena but on ‘a
priori’, routinized and often arbitrary ways of thinking, totally unrelated
to the evaluated individuals or social groups” (Dsoc, 603). Mass media
function so as “neutralize the unique exponential, evenimential character of
the world, so as to replace the world with a multiple universe of
homogeneous media which signify one another / send to one another. On the
brink, each of them becomes the other’s content and vice versa – this is the
totalitarian «message» of the consumerist society” (BauSc, 157). In spite of
the critical attitude / media literacy we adopt towards the globalized
communication, the patterns proliferated by mass media – particularly in the
enticing realm of fashion – would rather lead us to uniformity.
BIBLIOGRAPHY / SIGLES:
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Bădescu, Ilie (coord.), Geopolitica integrării europene, Bucureşti, Editura
Universităţii din Bucureşti, 2002.
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Amazing Europe. A Joint Project on European Citizenship
by Dana Barczak, C.N. "Mihai Eminescu", Botoşani
identity, partnership, customs, questionnaire, local authorities
What is Europe? A system of systems, a living
entity enriched by differences and burdened by discrepancies? In 1692
William Penn in his Essay towards a Present and Future Peace of Europe,
first mentioned the idea of a united Europe leaving aside the idea of a
religious unity against the Turks. Since then philosophers, politicians,
writers have tried to accomplish the difficult task of creating a real and
functional European Union and we, the common people of today are working on
How? I truly believe that the future of this
Union lies in schools where students learn about social, religious and
cultural tolerance. Amazing Europe is a Comenius project whose aim is
to promote European Citizenship and cooperation between participating
schools. It started in 2008 and it lasts two years. There are schools from
twelve countries of the EU: Portugal, the UK, Italy, Poland, the
Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, France, Lithuania,
Spain and Romania (“Mihai Eminescu” National College, Botosani). There are
four general meetings in Portugal, the UK, the Netherlands and France and
other bilateral ones.
The final goal is to involve schools and
communities in the process of building a European identity based on the
collaborative work of children, teachers, authorities so that we can have a
real and functional European Union. We know from History that it takes
years, sometimes generations in order to transform the concept into Reality
and that is why such projects are useful and necessary.
On the 23rd of October 2008 “Mihai
Eminescu” National College officially started the project entitled
AMAZING EUROPE – ROMANIAN ROOTS FOR A EUROPEAN FUTURE. We selected the
team who would participate to activities. A questionnaire was filled and the
students were divided into several workshops according to their abilities:
the visual workshop, the pottery workshop, the literary workshop.
The first activity was entitled “Who We
Are” and it was a short presentation of our country, county and school.
Each school showed its presentation at the general meeting in Portugal. Then
we continued with different contests for some Amazing Mascot and Logo . We
tried to share our customs and traditions performing activities in which we
explained the use of some specific items : Amazing Box, Amazing Folklore,
Amazing Pictionary. The project continues with the bilateral exchanges. The
Romanian team had a bilateral exchange with Spain and is going to have
another one with Lithuania.
The time spent abroad by both teachers and
students was fantastic: new experiences, new people and new points of view;
everything had a purpose: to know each other, to accept each other and to
learn from one another. We all have expectations but when reality surpasses
them it is worth writing about it. This project has been such an experience
At Easter we received our guests from Spain
and we tried to make them remember certain orthodox traditions related to
this important religious holiday. We went on several trips to Ipotesti,
Vorona, Bran where our partners could see important aspects of our culture
and civilization: dances, buildings, customs.
The second year of this project is entitled
the European Cultural Memory year and it comprises activities related to
cultural or historical events of important relevancy for local or national
history. We will continue organizing chats between the students involved in
the project; we will prepare a calendar with monuments related to historic
events and some newsletters. We will also organize a debate on National
and European Citizenship.
We are going to present the results of our
work during the general meetings in the Netherlands and France, and we will
have the bilateral exchanges with Lithuania.
The purpose is to involve as many students and
teachers as we can because they will share their experience with the other
members of the community spreading further the ideals which represent the
foundation of this project.
We also tried to involve the local authorities
to explain the importance of such projects in future because these
exchanges, these activities help the communities to accept the differences,
to understand certain traditions and to feel part of the European Union.
Language Learner vs Second Language Teacher. Theory and Practice
dr.Anca-Mariana Pegulescu, inspector general pentru limba engleză, limba
japoneză şi limba chineză,
Ministerul Educaţiei, Cercetării şi Inovării
represent a lifelong skill, they open up paths of communication and
exploration, they promote and make possible a broader cultural
Romania, as a member of the European Union, has
made its own the strategy that has been decided through European documents
and that imply at least three objectives: to improve the
teaching and learning of languages, to ensure a standardisation system that
will give students an international recognition for their language skills
and to increase the number of languages studied(at least two foreign
languages are supposed to be used communicatively, besides the mother
tongue).That is why we have to start from the idea that languages are really
for all and current blockages in the system can be dealt with.
There are a few questions to which answers can be
Q:. WHO is the second language learner? A: Children/pupils,
students or adults.
Q: WHERE does the learning happen? A: In
school/college, on playground (‘picking it up’) or at a workplace. They can
learn a highly localized language (becoming insiders in a local speech
community) or the language can help them to produce communication at a
region level, for economic development and public life.
Among different perspectives and priorities,
second language researchers have retained three directions:
the linguistic perspective, concerned with modelling
language structures and processes within the mind;
the social psychological perspective, concerned with
modelling individual differences among learners and their implications for
eventual learning success;
the socio-cultural perspective, concerned with
learners as social beings and members of social groups and networks.
WHAT about the teachers? They want in their turn make some use of theorizing
and combining it with their own experience and their practice. They are,
generally speaking, open to changes but they may also be reluctant to the
‘usefulness’ of recent research on language learning.
Teachers try to determine whether students have
learned what has been taught; teachers and researchers cannot read
learners’ minds, they must infer what learners know by observing what they
Researchers have observed and described what goes
on in second language classrooms and retained two zones:
a) natural acquisition context:
language is not presented step by step: the learner is
exposed to a wide variety of vocabulary and structures;
learners’ errors are rarely corrected;
the learner is surrounded by the language for many hours each
day(sometimes the language is simply overheard);
the learner encounters a number of people who use the target
learners observe or participate in many different types of
events(exchanges of information, brief greetings, arguments, instructions at
school or in the work place);
learners try to get information and respond to questions
across more proficient speakers who tend to be tolerant of errors;
where many native speakers are involved in conversation, the
learner may have difficulty getting access to language;
structure-based instructional setting:
linguistic items are presented and practised in
what is ’complex’;
errors are frequently corrected; accuracy is given priority
over meaningful interaction;
learning is limited to a few hours a week;
the teacher is often the only native or proficient speaker
the student comes in contact with;
students experience a limited range of language discourse
types; the most typical one is IRE(initiation/response/evaluation); the
written language is selected to provide practice with specific grammatical
features rather than for its content;
students often feel pressure to speak or to write the second
teachers often use the learners’ native language to give
instructions or in classroom management events; using the target language,
they tend to modify their language in order to ensure comprehension and
Learning conditions may differ in terms of the
physical environment, the age
and the motivation of the students and many other
variables. A very important aspect is the way the teacher organizes the
class and the principles that guide his/her teaching methods and
In communicative and content-based instruction
what is emphasized is the communication of meaning, both between
teacher and students and among students in group or pair work. Grammatical
forms are analysed in order to clarify meaning. In communicative
input is simplified, props and gestures are used;
there is a limited amount of error correction on the part
of the teacher and meaning is emphasized over form;
learners have opportunities to produce and respond to a
greater amount and variety of language;
usually the teacher is the only proficient speaker but
students can have more opportunities to use the target language;
stories, peer- and group-work, ‘authentic’ materials such
as newspapers and television broadcasts can be used;
there is little pressure to perform at high levels of
accuracy, there is greater emphasis on comprehension than on production
(in the early stages of learning);
if students come from different language backgrounds,
they may modify their language to communicate successfully;
Classroom learning and teaching cannot always
prevent the occurrence of particular events and behaviours and cannot
either impose too many pre-planned frameworks and checklists. That is why
learning and teaching are intermingled and cannot be evaluated
but together. What we really need, now more than ever, is a clear vision
within a languages strategy.
MYLES,F & MITCHELL, R, 2004 Second Language Learning Theories,
LIGHTBOWN,P.M. & SPADA, N. 2006 How Languages Are Learned, 3rd
Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp. Learning for the Summer
by Irina Cretu, English teacher and MATE
member, School no. 13 Botosani & Simona Petruc-Crihan ,English teacher and
MATE member, “Al. I. Cuza” School, Podu-Iloaei
peace camp, tolerance, understanding, English classes, teaching methods
and strategies, outdoor activities.
It’s the 1st of August and we are
already in Budapest waiting for someone to come and take us to Balatonlelle,
a small town near Lake Balaton, where we will be staying for the next two
weeks in a camp learning more about English.
When we were selected for this camp we thought
it would be something good for our students because they had English classes
and some outdoor activities that mean they have to speak in English from
morning till night. And why not, something good for us teachers, due to the
fact that we would learn something new about peace, tolerance, bullying and
But, we couldn’t imagine that we would be
taught by two American teacher trainers, Drs. Mary Lou McCloskey and Lydia
Stack who enlightened our minds and led our steps into discovering new
powers of our inner selves. It was unbelievable because they spoilt us with
so many gifts, precious books to use with our students back home, and they
shared every little secret they knew about teaching, only one thing in
various different methods. We participated in many activities and we used
various teaching strategies, some of them that we had already used in
classrooms, but when we saw them again explained by Mary Lou and Lydia they
seemed totally different from what we had read in methodological guides.
Furthermore, they encouraged us to do a certain activity for at least three
times and then we can declare ourselves completely proud of our job. All the
teaching strategies that we learned about were focused on cooperative
learning (Pair-Share, Numbered Heads Together, Group Decision-Making),
community-building (Index-Card life history, Group Identification
activities, Uncommon Commonalities) and learning into, through and beyond
reading (Reciprocal Teaching, Question-Answer Response, Jigsaw,
This camp was a regional one because there
were students from Croatia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Romania, Kosovo and the
host country Hungary. Thus, the students had the chance to learn English and
to learn about one another's culture, to work and play together.
All students had the chance to make new
friends from different countries and to enjoy together the Frisbee
tournaments, Hike and capture the flag, the Talent Show and the Campfire.
There was no today like yesterday. Not to mention more about Lake Balaton,
which was absolutely beautiful; we rested, laid in the sun and swam in the
We had this chance thanks to U.S. Embassy
Bucharest and the Regional English Language Office at U.S. Embassy Budapest,
who covered all the expenses and to Mr.Gergő Santha, who interviewed us and
came to Romania to meet us personally and to select the students for the
We had never thought that we could do
something to improve our English knowledge and have fun with the students at
the same time in a foreign country, on the shore of a beautiful lake!
Diversity. The Role of English Classes in Shaping the Future European
Cătălina-Ecaterina Burlacu, teacher of English,
”Ionel Teodoreanu” School, Iaşi
Key words: multicultural society, cultural
diversity, interaction patterns, collaboration
“Unity in diversity”,
the official motto of the European Union is also one of the major guidelines
in the teaching and learning processes. This statement should be part of our
everyday activity, since we have the great mission to shape attitudes,
behaviours, and personalities for a future Europe, and world as a whole.
Tomorrow’s European citizens should be able to cooperate and establish a
favourable dialogue with the others in a multicultural society! In order to
reach this goal, all the factors providing education, namely teachers,
parents and media, must build and promote a positive behaviour towards
cultural and social diversity.
Before focusing on the
development of the European citizenship, each of us should start by working
at a lower level; to put it differently, first of all, our learners should
accept their classmates, their deskmates, or their partners in a project
before struggling to accept a foreign citizen. Building tolerance should
start at a lower level. If we do not manage to make our learners tolerant
with each other in a small group, it would be quite difficult to reach this
goal at a higher level.
How can we build
tolerance, acceptance and support among our learners? First of all, through
pair or group work, and other activities implying cooperation, interaction,
exchange of ideas and experiences. All these interaction patterns (even if
they seem to be time consuming, difficult to manage and a great source of
noise) are in fact a starting point in shaping the future citizen capable of
dealing with current issues, such as multiculturalism, or cultural
diversity. But, before accepting other cultures, we should accept ourselves,
within the same culture. Through pair and group work (which are fashionable
during the English classes, stimulating interaction and communication), our
students learn to respect the others` ideas, opinions, feelings, conceptions
and working styles. If we stress the importance of such attitudes from the
very beginning, from early childhood, we are likely to have good results in
“shaping the future European citizen”.
Besides the interaction
patterns used in class, some other factors are of great importance. Teaching
foreign languages does not imply only teaching grammar and conversation, but
also making constant references to cultural aspects, customs, values, and
ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, since language and culture are
interconnected. When dealing with cultural diversity at this level, we
assume that our learners have already accepted themselves as citizens of the
same country, and now they are ready to behave properly at another level,
accepting other foreign cultures too. They know how to deal with physical,
racial, or religious differences at “local” or national level, and now they
can accept “the other”. Being a teacher of a foreign language means
promoting the other culture, including its culinary traditions, holidays,
educational system, historical background, literature, arts etc. Teaching
English without projecting yourself totally in that culture is like uttering
half of a sentence in Romanian, and the other half in English. This is also
valid for the European citizenship issue. We cannot model tolerant European
citizens without exposing them to this cultural diversity. They should be
aware of the existing cultural differences, without judging or labelling
them as “inferior” to their own culture. In a United Europe, and in the
world as a whole, we are all equal citizens, having the same rights and
duties. Therefore, we should function as a single entity, as European
citizens, despite the cultural diversity which differentiates us. Moreover,
cultural differences should unify us, being like a source of intellectual,
moral and spiritual richness.
To summarise, the first
step is to make our students accept each other in their small learning
community. Then, we should provide them with the necessary information
regarding cultural diversity. Afterwards, they are exposed to a
multicultural world, where they should be prepared to face and cope with
diversity, without generating rejections or tensions. What we should insist
on, as teachers, is the idea of tolerance, mutual respect and equality in
diversity, be it at a lower lever (the classroom) or at a higher one (as
European citizens). Maybe it sounds idealistic, but this is what we all
should aim at: unity in diversity, a sense of oneness in a multicultural
society at European level. The future European citizens are the today’s
learners. Our duty is to guide them in their journey towards maturity, with
the ultimate goal of being a European citizen in a culturally diverse
society. All in all, education, and especially teaching languages,
contributes to the development of the learner’s identity, communication
abilities, openness, social integration and overall development.
Video and DVD in the Classroom
Gabriela Udrea, “Grigore Antipa” Highschool, Bacau
When somebody sees this title, the first question that comes to his/ her
mind is “Why? Why should we use such modern devices? We learned English in a
traditional way during our school years and it was ok.”
Well, the answers can be different:
- because it is more interesting;
- because it provides students with practical examples in their classroom;
- because it is good for the students to compare, to analyse (when referring
- because they can read and listen at the same time;
- because it is motivating; the students are more interested in such a
- because it stimulates them; it is a good opportunity to communicate, to
express opinions, thoughts / experiences;
- because the teacher can emphasize pronunciation, accent;
- because it offers a complete context: facial expressions, body language,
- because it is an opportunity to see, hear, comment an authentic material;
- because it offers cultural information.
All these reasons can determine a teacher to use such technology during the
process of teaching a foreign language.
The activities that you (the teacher) choose have to be well contextualised
– linguistically, culturally, thematically. You have to keep in mind some
points: they have to be active, interesting and appropriate to your
students’ age, with proper content. For example, you can watch a scene from
a movie, an interesting English movie where good, clear, fluent English is
As pre-viewing tasks, you may have a short conversation starting form the
title of the movie, you may ask them what this movie is about, what
characters are there and so on. You may also present the vocabulary of the
scene in sentences and stress the meaning of the word. You may revise
different grammar problems: maybe the tenses, maybe modal verbs
(probability, prediction), maybe the degrees of comparison of the
adjectives. You have to watch the scene attentively and you have to choose
the proper grammar problems presented there.
As while-viewing tasks, the students watch the scene carefully once, then
you ask them some questions: what’s the situation?, why?, where does the
action happen?, what are the characters’ names?, etc. After this short
discussion you ask them to watch the scene once more and to pay attention to
As post-viewing tasks, you can revise in this way some grammar problems, you
may ask them to use certain words, you may ask them to write a report about
what happened there, you may use role play in order to stress certain
emotions, ideas, you may speak about characters using physical and moral
Other activities which can be done during this class may be:
- watching the scene with no sound (sound off): you ask the students to
guess the situation, the intonation, different structures;
- listening to the dialogue (without seeing the screen): you ask the
students questions about the scene they have just heard: what do you think
he/she is wearing?, What’s her/his age?, how do you think he/she looks?, etc
The teacher doesn’t necessary have to choose a scene from a movie. He/she
can use his/her imagination in this direction. The possibilities are
various: interviews, cartoons, adverts.
The preparation of this type of lesson has to be well done, the tasks have
to be clear, the time has to be properly used. Each activity has its own
time. Do not use a lot of activities in one class because your students can
Drama for Everyone: Improvisation and Personal
Cristiana Faur, teacher of English, George Cosbuc National Bilingual College
drama, improvisation, personal development,
Students of all ages are motivated to
communicate more fluently and correctly in the target language, by
introducing drama into the language curriculum. DRAMA can be considered as
the thing done, the doing of life, the celebration of man.
Peter Slade, one of the a pioneers in the
field of theatre for children, regards the concept of play in two
different ways. He calls PERSONAL PLAY the trying out of life experiences,
the experimenting with life around and self, the investigating experience (
such as playing the doctor), and PROJECTED PLAY, the playing out of fears,
repressed desires, antisocial behaviour. In both cases the child experiences
his way through a learning process
DRAMA can be used in any subject, not only as
a separate curricular subject, it can become an educational medium, a
teaching method, a learning technique. Drama can be used in English lessons,
in teaching literaure, in drama clubs, in councelling.
The difference between education and drama in
education lies within the fact that education tends to seek out SAMENESS in
individual personalities (the thing which we can measure as common to
everybody), whereas drama in education tends to go for and develop the
DIFFERENCE in individual personalities, the individuality of the individual,
the UNIQUENESS of each person (see Brian Way)
Drama should provide students with
opportunities to reach new understandings and appreciation of self, others
and the environment through imaginative dramatic experiences. Secondly, it
can lead to a better communication of ideas and feelings through language,
expression and movement, in real and imaginary contexts. Thirdly, drama
develops confidence and self-esteem in the day-to-day interaction with
others, as well as sensitivity towards the feelings, opinions and values of
others through purposeful interaction.
All this will be demonstrated by engaging the
participants in a variety of improvisation activities. Improvisation refers
to spontaneity or unprepared performance, a rehearsal technique and a tool
for experimentation. We need to keep in mind the following: what our
intention is, what we want to achieve, and how we are going to achieve it.
Improvisation means to
provide the group with the opportunity to experiment, so we have to make
sure that we give clear instructions and starting points in order to
generate ideas, that the improvisation does not go on for too long, and that
we help those less confident by sharing ideas and creativity in the field.
Through a series of
activities students will develop an understanding of improvisation as a
basis for dramatic intention, they will improve concentration, spontaneity,
listening and speaking skills, and last but not least they will develop
flexibility in movement and voice.
Example of activities:
Asking and answering questions
Not as simple as we might
think! Each person will ask one peson one question. The question must
require a longer answer, not a yes/no one. The rule is that the person who
answers must lie. The answer given must not be true.
The basic rules are:
when you are spoken to, leave the answer to the person on your left
yes or no
bad about lying
Let me help you!
Being grouped in a circle,
one person goes to the centre of the circle and commences to perform an
activity, for example speaking to an imaginary person. In a couple of
seconds another person has to join the first one in the conversation. In a
couple of moments, the first one goes back to the circle, and a third person
joins the performance. This goes for as long as it is considered
Conflict role plays
Check-in-clerk and passanger
Owner of a
dog and owner of a cat
This is a pair work. The
two performers have to decide for themselves what the reasons of the
conflict are, but they should not reveal them to each other before the
performance. They must choose situations and reasons that contain a
conflict. Through dialogue they must make the reasons of the conflict clear
time and place
After you have drawn the
general outlines, procede to interrogatories. Each person has to make clear
who they are, what their role in this play is, what evolution they could
follow. Then, start the play. It will be an improvisation!!!
Opportunities in Developing English Teaching Skills. Working with Peace
by Mona Talancă, Grupul
Şcolar "Demostene Botez", Truşeşti
Peace Corps volunteer, Peace Corps counterpart, methods and tips on teaching
English, steps to follow in applying, cultural exchange.
are many opportunities for teachers of English to improve their experience
and knowledge, but unfortunately we don’t always find out about them. This
is why I have decided to write a short article about my experience as a
Peace Corps volunteer’s counterpart.
found out by accident 3 years ago about an American organisation named Peace
Corps which places American volunteers throughout the world, including
Romania, for 2 years. I searched for more information about them and I
immediately saw a chance for me and my students to step into a new world,
that of working with a native speaker of English. I didn’t waste a minute
and applied for a volunteer, although I wasn’t very hopeful, since I teach
in a village and there were mostly cities and towns that applied for it. But
fortunately we were lucky enough to be selected so....after only 3 months we
received a phone call and we found out that we were one of the chosen
schools. They told me I had to go bring my volunteer to site in 2 months!!!
I couldn’t believe how fast it went. I had applied in February and I met my
volunteer in July.
next step was to go to Ploiesti (where the volunteers had been trained for 6
weeks before our arrival) and meet them. We stayed there for 3 days, during
which we were also trained about how to help the volunteer integrate in the
community, what having a volunteer implies, etc. After the 3 days, we
brought our volunteer to the site for a short visit (2 days) and then, she
went back to Ploiesti and returned on July 30th.
That’s when our great adventure started. Our volunteer’s name was Tory
Shanklin, she was 23 and she came from Alaska. Her goal in Trusesti was to
share with us everything she knew and to help us without asking anything in
return. The only thing we had to do was pay for her rent.
exchanged teaching techniques, we discussed about the differences between
the American and the Romanian school systems, we organised study camps
(Outward Bound Sovata) and big parties( Halloween). She told me about a very
popular contest that they have in the United States – Spelling Bee, so we
had a Romanian Spelling Bee contest which I am planning on organising again
this year, because the students were absolutely thrilled with it. She also
did adult classes for free, since there were people within the community who
wanted to study English.
December we had to go to Miercurea Ciuc for another three days’ training,
and there we discussed topics like Creativity, Classroom management and
her second year, Tory got a lot of donations from America for our school,
such as books, games, balls, crayons, markers, scissors, chalk, glue, toys
and even money. She also helped us organise a Students’ Council, which was
not very common for secondary schools.
biggest thing we achieved was an Ecological Project which brought to our
community 5000 dollars that we used to create green spaces in Trusesti, we
planted flowers and trees and we bought benches and everything we needed in
order to create the green space.
2 years passed by really quickly and she had to leave. Everybody, especially
the students, were very sad, because she had become a part of the community,
one of us, and we were used to having an American volunteer among us. Which
is why i decided to try again and make another project for the Peace Corps.
So, in February, this year, I applied again hoping that luck would be on our
side again. And it was! In July I went to Targoviste this time and I met my
second volunteer, a sweet 23 year-old girl named Sarah Bussee. She is from
Wisconsin and she came here with the same goal, to do her best in helping
people that need her. She was a bit afraid in the beginning, because it’s
inevitable for people and students to compare her with the first volunteer,
but step by step, people understood that she is a different person and they
should not compare her with Tory. She came on site for a short visit in July
and then, in August she actually began her life as a „trusesteanca”.
though she’s only been here for 3 months, she has already done a lot, from
getting materials from America to organising a big party for Halloween. She
is also planning on going on with the adult classes, if there are people who
show their interest in doing this.
that was my experience until now as a Peace Corps counterpart and I have
learnt a lot of things, the most important being the huge cultural
differences, the way they teach students and how the school system works in
America, and, as a result, i changed my view on theaching, i discovered new
methods and tips, such as:
I found out that stickers work like magic with
the kids, you should try it! Buy some stickers and use them in the
classroom, you will see that even the most rebelious student will do his
homework on time and behave if he knows he’ll get his sticker (and trust me,
it works even with the 7th or 8th graders if you find the right stickers, of
Play games everytime you get the chance, even a
short 5 minutes game will make wonders. There’s a really easy one and you
don’t need any materials except chalk and the blackboard and you can use it
in order to check new words or whatever you need. I am going to give you an
example, let’s say....for checking numbers: I write on the board the numbers
randomly and two students start the game . They come to the blackboard and
when I say the number, they have to put their hand on it. The fastest wins
and he gets to choose the next classmate who is going to compete with him
and so on. You can also use this game with words, writing the words in
English on the board and telling them the words in Romanian, or with tenses,
telling them a sentence and they would have to put their hand on the right
tense on the board, etc.
Make evaluation fun in order to eliminate the
stress, try to think about ways of testing them that are different from what
they are used to. A really great method that I use is the auction. I write
sentences with the structures they studied on a sheet of paper but I also
include some wrong sentences (structures) and they have to bid only for
Make contests, invent contests for whatever,
they are crazy about them.
list can continue because there are many things that you can learn from your
volunteer and -as you can see- it is not very difficult to get one, but you
need to know a few things before you decide whether or not you are going to
apply for one.
Here are the
steps you need to follow, in case you decide to apply:
First of all, talk to the people in your school and find out if they can
afford paying for the volunteer’s rent. This is all you need to provide,
because they receive from the Peace Corps a small salary in order to be able
to live like a Romanian (pay their utilities, buy food, etc.)
Identify a mentor in your community (somebody else than the counterpart) who
is going to help them integrate better (introduce him/her to people, show
them where to pay the utilities, tell them about Romanian customs, what is
polite or rude in our country, etc.)
an application (just type Peace Corps Romania on google and you’ll find it).
a good description of your school and community, their needs and what having
a volunteer would mean for the people there.
in the application by February and send it to Peace Corps.
will receive a visit from the Peace Corps in your school in March or April,
to see if your school is eligible.
May, you will receive a phonecall from Peace Corps and they will tell you if
you got accepted or not.
counterpart will be invited to a conference in July to meet the volunteer
and bring him/her at site for a short visit(2 or 3 days).
volunteer goes back for another 2 or 3 weeks of training and then returns to
the site ready to start their activity.
That’s all! Enjoy your volunteer!