is a talk at BRAZTESOL called Bridges to Understanding?
It’s an exchange, isn’t it? Look at this
Teaching is the “truth”, the ideal, the
big circle. What part of it is applicable?
Attitudes are always important in the functioning and
outcome of a project.
For special purposes content can be negotiated by the
Skills are a concrete base, which many find so important
to language learning and teaching.
The dynamic or movement and interaction of these fields
is what creates bridges to understanding.
In October 2000 I was hired by the Swiss School to
help the teachers and staff to know about and be confident
with those bridges that they already had, and the ones
we would explore in iBET English for Teachers.
What were we looking for in the nine-hour pilot of
How many ways can
you have an introductory conversation asking and answering
questions in these categories? Short exchanges in groups.
This is everyday language. Taking care to mix what
we feel confidence in with what is new, unknown and
even difficult is needed. Have you found these qualities
in the poster?
Relaxation Humor Valor Resilience
Do you need more than attitudes for your job? How
difficult is this?
Of the four skills, reading, writing, speaking and
listening, which is easier and which is harder?
Reading is your strong point then depend on it to
do difficult tasks on a continuum of:
Look at Poster 5(1). Do these strategies help with
Grammar Reversi. Read the story the students wrote.
Would you choose to write a story to learn the
Look at Poster 6. Does the strategy given,
help you to follow the instructions on reading the
• Before viewing the video, read Lucy’s
Italian Movie for general idea, quickly.
• Circle all the subjects, proper nouns, nouns and pronouns.
• Underline the actions the subjects perform. i.e. verbs.
• What are the objects of these actions?
• Underline twice the words that indicate time.
• Can you make a good summary now?
• Do you have any grammar or vocabulary observations
or questions for the group?
• One half of the group chooses a sentence from the text
to write onto cards. The other half reconstructs
it. This is one way to clear up doubts.
• Please give us your impressions in seven minutes
Monika’s sense of smell and taste.
your curiosity and senses to discover what is in
the bag without looking. Taste what is in the
to I was born to Love You and draw a story-board
on the flip chart.
The group that
studied Alvaro’s case, as did
that of Monika, had fun presenting the activity as
did those who watched. They observed that Alvaro felt
inadequate with regard to English, as many second language
group thought the instructions for the activity were
too long and difficult and tried it without
reading all the instructions, as do many students.
They observed that Nair, though comfortable when reading,
had difficulty with listening. At iBET she found that
listening to tapes over and over helped improve her
group took most of the time to figure out the matches
in the game. They noted that Cleusa
found accurate English writing a great challenge.
Finally I would
like to talk about the work of an administrator who
came to iBET to prepare for an oral
presentation about her program at a conference in Buenos
Aires. That was a specific purpose! She attended 17
meetings (25 and ½ hours) and got a private
tutor as well. Her final oral presentation at iBET
was what she would say at the conference. She offered
this lovely Arabic coffee, famous at our school but
never given in English before. Nair brought a delicious
apple cake. The presentation went off with flying colors.
Setting a strategy to handle difficulties helped to
reduce anxiety and increase confidence in English both
for the individual and the institution with the specific
purpose, oral practice, We used sensitive understanding
Relax. Be curious. Go back for more.
(1) Poster 5: based on workshop at 5th BRAZ-TESOL
National convention. Learn and Pass it On: Motivating
EFL Students to Read by Maureen Abrahamsohn (1996)
for each one of us when we read? We are perceiving,
seeing, hearing “the word” which
we ideate or give meaning to. Sometimes we forget that
we are presenting these perceptions and ideations to
ourselves and possibly to others if we are reading
out loud or discussing what we have read. While doing
all this, we are cross mediating, which is integrating
left and right brain functions to come out with what
we have understood. Learning and using vocabulary with
both lower and higher level thinking goes on at this
stage. As you can see in the diagram, we have a lot
going on in our brains! Each one of us has a special
way of seeing, hearing or perceiving which will make
our ideation, presentation and cross mediation unique.
Perhaps one of the reasons Albert Einstein was so special
was his hearing impairment. He had what we call today
a special learning style.
The following is a bibliography of the material used
for the iBET course.
Books and Articles
The CALLA Handbook,
Anna Ulh Chamot and J. Michael O’Malley,
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1994
Developing a Framework for Analysis ESP by Helen Basturkmen,
University of Auckland, ESP News, TESOL Interest Section
Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 1, January 2002
Essential Grammar in Use, second edition by Raymond
Murphy, Cambridge University, 1997
Famous Women of the Twentieth Century: Cue Cards, Lisa
F. DeWitt, Pro Lingua Associates,1993
More Grammar Games, Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis,
Cambridge University Press, 1995
1.3 Grammar Reversi- Phrasal verbs
2.6 DYD Word Order
New Interchange: Intro by Jack Richards and Tay Lesley,
Cambridge University, 2000 Nobel Prize Winners
by Lisa F. DeWitt, Pro Lingua Associates, 1991
Improving College Teaching Using an Interactive,
Model of Learning; Gregory Schraw; David Brooks
University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Lincoln, NE
Reading comprehension enhancement in Foreign Language
learners with a verb valency based reading- strategy
Maria Dobrenov-Major; Griffith University; Brisbane
The Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning: John
Dewey, Experiential Learning, and the Core Practices
by Bobby Ann Starnes EDO-RC-98-6 (January 1999)
Using the World Wide Web with Adult ESL Learners
by Kathleen Flannery Silc; Falls Church, Virginia
ERIC® Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small
Moshe Feldenkrais Medicine Man Interviews vol. 1
and 2 ( video), C. Steven Langer, M. D. 1982, Berkeley,
Miniature Miracle: The Computer Chip (video), National
Geographic Society, 1985
I Love Lucy, The Collector’s Edition ( video),
CBS Inc. 1954,1955,1956, 1985