English Language Teaching Matters

English Language Teaching Matters

A treasure chest of resources and ideas for English Language teachers, both in the UK and overseas


CATEGORIZED IN

Michael Berman has been teaching English as a Foreign Language and giving talks and workshops at both national and international conferences all his working life, and this volume is a collection of the articles and materials he has written on the subject over the years that have not been published in book form before. As well as articles on particular approaches to language teaching, such as the application and use of NLP and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, you will also find plenty of practical teaching materials to make use of with your students: first day activities, for example, stories with suggestions for follow up work, and lead ins to introduce new topics. In this book you will find something for everyone.

REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

Today, in the era of pressurising examination tests, when teachers are focused on developing specific examination skill in their students, many of us forget that it is equally important to understand our students’ inner world, their learning styles and together with the subject we teach, help them to learn how to think and understand the world around them. The text ‘English Language Teaching Matters: A Collection of Articles and Teaching Materials’ by Michael Berman, Mojca Belak & Wayne Rimmer is an eye-opening book regarding the issues mentioned above as well as many others. It comprises a collection of articles which widens the covered area and provides a teacher of English with a number of insightful and useful activities on a wide range of troublesome issues such as writing Curriculum Vitae, reports, letters, teaching idioms, etc. The particular attention is paid to storytelling as ‘stories can serve the purpose of not only helping learners to develop their language skills, but also, and more importantly, they can also be used for facilitating personal development’. The stories in this book are equipped with pre-listening, while-listening and after-listening activities which will generate conversation and enhance fluency in the classroom ranging from elementary to advanced. There is however another side to this the book which I would like to emphasise and in which the authors offer a number of suggestions on the issues mentioned in the first paragraph of the review. This part of the book teaches us how to become a caring and attentive teacher; how and why to listen to our students as ‘wisdom comes from listening, not for confirmation of the theories found in books, but for the exceptions that disprove them’. Clearly, becoming a good teacher is s not an easy endeavor and it surely involves several crucial aspects. Not only should a good teacher be aware of new and sophisticated methodological trends and theories in ELT but they should also be able to use efficiently the acquired knowledge in the classroom. Being a teacher does not mean only helping your students to develop certain skills crucial for taking a desired examination but also teaching them to think and develop their personalities. For this purpose the authors suggest using a number of well-known approaches and, theories practiced not only in ELT but also, in other spheres of human activity. I would like to single out several of these suggestions to show how important they are for enhancing and maintaining high standards of teaching: a) learners should be provided with choice, instead of using the same approach with everyone, a teacher should be sensitive to the fact that we are all unique, each with a different mix of Intelligence Types and Learning Styles, and each coming into the classroom with different personal histories that affect our attitude towards what we do and learn there.; b) teachers should be aware of ‘the fact that the more we are able as teachers to hold ourselves back and avoid the temptation to intervene in order to offer a helping hand, the more the learners turn out to be capable of. We must never lose sight of our main goal, which is to empower rather than to dis-empower those we work with; c) learner involvement is frequently at its best when the student is perplexed and confused, but not yet frustrated. "Positive dissatisfaction" can be used to engage learners at peak levels of motivation and understanding, and you can purposely put participants into a state of controlled frustration in order to develop better quality thinking, patience and mental toughness’;’ d) a teacher should ‘enjoy the experience of teaching themselves; in order to make their students enjoy it too’. I would like to end the review of this book about which I find an urgency to publish by the words from one of its parts: ‘The main purpose of higher education is to facilitate and expand students’ understanding’ (Ramsden, 2003, p. 8). And if we agree that learning methods ‘must reflect real social practices’ (Chanier, 2000, p. 83), then we have to conclude that learning must be anchored into ‘real-world or authentic contexts that make learning meaningful and purposeful’ (Bonk and Cunningham 1998, p. 27). This book clearly makes learning meaningful and purposeful in many ways. Moreover, it confirms once again that English language teaching does matter! In conclusion I strongly recommend this book for publication.
Professor Manana Rusieshvili

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Full Professor and Head of English Philology at Tbilisi State University, and President of the English Teachers Association of Georgia (ETAG).


 

~

English Language Teaching Matters consists of a series of intelligent sections which are not interlocked but present various possible aspects of teaching and learning. One of the merits of the book is the unique choice of the teaching materials. As such the authors have taken clusters of folk tales and stories coming from diverse cultures. The text material in many language teaching books is often boring and artificially constructed. It is not the case with English Language Teaching Matters. The carefully chosen stories are followed by sets of interesting questions, often unexpected in their candidness, and instructive exercises. I suggest the aim of this book is, as its authors write, not only helping learners to develop their language skills but also facilitating their personal development. Being well aware of the multi-level semantics of folk tales Berman shows the students how ancient stories may illustrate the functioning of new learning techniques. At the same time he shows us the grains of modern learning philosophies in old stories. A folklorist myself I am pleasantly surprised to observe how folk stories can work in the classroom revealing to the students meanings and knowledge which cannot be found elsewhere. The author expertly discloses the important role intuition plays in the learning process. He sees the activation of our unconscious knowledge as the best strategy when learning a foreign language especially for specific groups. I consider this work an excellent contribution to ELT and would be happy to use it with my students at the department of Cross-Cultural Communication, Yerevan State University.
Dr Alvard Jivanyan

Chair of English Philology, Yerevan State University
~

Today, in the era of pressurising examination tests, when teachers are focused on developing specific examination skill in their students, many of us forget that it is equally important to understand our students’ inner world, their learning styles and together with the subject we teach, help them to learn how to think and understand the world around them. The text ‘English Language Teaching Matters: A Collection of Articles and Teaching Materials’ by Michael Berman, Mojca Belak & Wayne Rimmer is an eye-opening book regarding the issues mentioned above as well as many others. It comprises a collection of articles which widens the covered area and provides a teacher of English with a number of insightful and useful activities on a wide range of troublesome issues such as writing Curriculum Vitae, reports, letters, teaching idioms, etc. The particular attention is paid to storytelling as ‘stories can serve the purpose of not only helping learners to develop their language skills, but also, and more importantly, they can also be used for facilitating personal development’. The stories in this book are equipped with pre-listening, while-listening and after-listening activities which will generate conversation and enhance fluency in the classroom ranging from elementary to advanced. There is however another side to this the book which I would like to emphasise and in which the authors offer a number of suggestions on the issues mentioned in the first paragraph of the review. This part of the book teaches us how to become a caring and attentive teacher; how and why to listen to our students as ‘wisdom comes from listening, not for confirmation of the theories found in books, but for the exceptions that disprove them’. Clearly, becoming a good teacher is s not an easy endeavor and it surely involves several crucial aspects. Not only should a good teacher be aware of new and sophisticated methodological trends and theories in ELT but they should also be able to use efficiently the acquired knowledge in the classroom. Being a teacher does not mean only helping your students to develop certain skills crucial for taking a desired examination but also teaching them to think and develop their personalities. For this purpose the authors suggest using a number of well-known approaches and, theories practiced not only in ELT but also, in other spheres of human activity. I would like to single out several of these suggestions to show how important they are for enhancing and maintaining high standards of teaching: a) learners should be provided with choice, instead of using the same approach with everyone, a teacher should be sensitive to the fact that we are all unique, each with a different mix of Intelligence Types and Learning Styles, and each coming into the classroom with different personal histories that affect our attitude towards what we do and learn there.; b) teachers should be aware of ‘the fact that the more we are able as teachers to hold ourselves back and avoid the temptation to intervene in order to offer a helping hand, the more the learners turn out to be capable of. We must never lose sight of our main goal, which is to empower rather than to dis-empower those we work with; c) learner involvement is frequently at its best when the student is perplexed and confused, but not yet frustrated. "Positive dissatisfaction" can be used to engage learners at peak levels of motivation and understanding, and you can purposely put participants into a state of controlled frustration in order to develop better quality thinking, patience and mental toughness’;’ d) a teacher should ‘enjoy the experience of teaching themselves; in order to make their students enjoy it too’. I would like to end the review of this book about which I find an urgency to publish by the words from one of its parts: ‘The main purpose of higher education is to facilitate and expand students’ understanding’ (Ramsden, 2003, p. 8). And if we agree that learning methods ‘must reflect real social practices’ (Chanier, 2000, p. 83), then we have to conclude that learning must be anchored into ‘real-world or authentic contexts that make learning meaningful and purposeful’ (Bonk and Cunningham 1998, p. 27). This book clearly makes learning meaningful and purposeful in many ways. Moreover, it confirms once again that English language teaching does matter! In conclusion I strongly recommend this book for publication. ~ Professor Manana Rusieshvili, Doctor of Philological Sciences, Full Professor and Head of English Philology at Tbilisi State University, and President of the English Teachers Association of Georgia (ETAG).

English Language Teaching Matters consists of a series of intelligent sections which are not interlocked but present various possible aspects of teaching and learning. One of the merits of the book is the unique choice of the teaching materials. As such the authors have taken clusters of folk tales and stories coming from diverse cultures. The text material in many language teaching books is often boring and artificially constructed. It is not the case with English Language Teaching Matters. The carefully chosen stories are followed by sets of interesting questions, often unexpected in their candidness, and instructive exercises. I suggest the aim of this book is, as its authors write, not only helping learners to develop their language skills but also facilitating their personal development. Being well aware of the multi-level semantics of folk tales Berman shows the students how ancient stories may illustrate the functioning of new learning techniques. At the same time he shows us the grains of modern learning philosophies in old stories. A folklorist myself I am pleasantly surprised to observe how folk stories can work in the classroom revealing to the students meanings and knowledge which cannot be found elsewhere. The author expertly discloses the important role intuition plays in the learning process. He sees the activation of our unconscious knowledge as the best strategy when learning a foreign language especially for specific groups. I consider this work an excellent contribution to ELT and would be happy to use it with my students at the department of Cross-Cultural Communication, Yerevan State University. ~ Dr Alvard Jivanyan, Chair of English Philology, Yerevan State University

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Berman
Michael Berman Michael Berman BA, MPhil, PhD (Alternative Medicines) has been involved in teaching and teacher training for over thirty five years, and has...
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