From the President
14th SPELTA Conference (April 2001) Programme
Abstracts of the Conference Presentations
Dear SPELTA members and colleagues,
Spring in St. Petersburg is nice, but difficult time. We are tired from long and dark winter. We do not have enough vitamins and teaching job is getting harder as we feel exhausted. So it is nice to take a break from difficulties and trivia of life and enjoy two refreshing days of the conference in good company. This year theme, «American Language and Culture in the context of ELT» enabled us to attract a number of highly professional presenters, both native speakers of American English and non-native ELT professionals speaking on a variety of topics. I am sure this conference will be an exciting opportunity for both the seasoned conferee and the first timer.
Traditionally, I would like to use the opportunity of presidential address to say thank you to a number of people who made this conference possible. I would like to say thank you to Alice Murray, who encouraged me all the time and invited EFL Fellows working in different places of Russia, to Svetlana Bebyakina for all the effort she put in the organisational work, to Stanislav Derkach, Tatyana Cherneva and Olga Olkhovskaia who did a lot of routine, but very important work of sending out SPELTA information. To Elena Petrova for the help with Newsletter editing and good advice, to Tatiana Sallier, Lubov Rebikova and Svetlana Serova who helped with organising sessions, and Natalia Kutovenko who helped with the venue for this conference.
What is SPELTA up to? The goal of education these days is to train a global citizen. For that, we are to become globally minded ourselves. Joining the global community is the main task that SPELTA has been trying to maintain and where it is unique. This is a part of teacher development no school or course in methodology could provide. There are ever increasing opportunities now for our members to have links through SPELTA with associations and teachers abroad. About 2000 people from all over the world have visited our Website. 25 members of SPELTA have become members of IATEFL due to the grant we received as IATEFL Associate through the Wider Membership Scheme. Other 25 will have this opportunity next autumn.
SPELTA has become a part of regional networking for Central and Eastern Europe, and participated in the first regional meeting in Hungary, to build up links with sister associations. Those who have access to e-mail and would like to be subscribed to any of the international e-mail lists, please contact our secretary or email to email@example.com You will be able to receive letters from native-speaking educators and discuss anything related to ELT with professionals from all over the world.
As any president, I would like to see SPELTA grow. However, growth in membership is not the only way to measure growth. With help from the board and dedicated members of SPELTA I would like to see SPELTA grow by offering teachers from St. Petersburg and North-West of Russia more opportunities for professional development. Wouldn’t you like to become involved in some way? Your ideas are most welcome.
Best wishes to you all. Be enthusiastic and creative, stay with SPELTA and enjoy it.
14-15 April, 2001
DAY ONE. APRIL 14TH SATURDAY
Venue: International Banking Institute, Malaya Sadovaya, 6
Coffee, Book Exhibitions, Networking
10.30 Oak Hall. Conference opening. Tatiana Ivanova, SPELTA President
(Greg Sarris's presentation is cancelled due to presenter's disease)
13.00-13.45 - Break
13.45- 15.45 Parallel Sessions
1. Style and Variety in American English, Cross-Cultural Issues
Chair - Elena Petrova Oak Hall
Elena Shamina (St. Petersburg State University) How Does it Sound: Words of Disapproval in American English and in Russian.
Natalia Orlova (Hertsen Pedagogical University). Teaching about American Family Cross-Culturally Abstract
Cynthia Warren (Irkutsk). School Curricula and the Social Order: Politically and Pedagogically “Correcting” African-American Vernacular English (also known as Ebonics) Abstract
2. Computer Assisted Language Learning
Chair - Tatyana Sallier Room 403, Nevsky 58
Brenda Ameter (University of Dohan, Alabama). Experience of Teaching
Computer Composition in an American College.
Christopher Ameter. Internet activities in the USA
Tatiana Lobanovskaya. Computer technologies in ELT
3. Primary and Secondary Schools Issues
Chair- Svetlana Serova Room 31, M. Sadovaya 6
Betsy Lewis (Moscow), Svetlana Serova (School #83). Children's Books by American Authors: How to Use Them in the Primary Classroom.
Inga Panova (School #112). Teen Issues: What Does the Survey Show?
Elena Evstigneeva (school #488). American Contemporary Literature. Introducing Twentieth Century American Writers
15.45-16.05 Coffee Break
16.05-17.05 Parallel Workshops.
1. Harold Samuels (Tomsk) An Interviewing Role Play Room
2. Adair Mathers (Pskov). Superstitions, Proverbs, Myths and Legends!! Oak Hall Abstract
Gary Anderson (Paris). Multimedia in ELT: A Modern Must? Oak Hall Abstract
DAY TWO. APRIL 15, SUNDAY
Venue: International Banking Institute, 58 Nevsky Prospekt
9.30 Tour of St. Petersburg (to be confirmed, further information and registration after April 4th at 324-07-66, first come, first served principle)
13.00 SPELTA household matters. Information from the Council
13.30 Teaching Strategies (3 parallel sessions):
1. Language Knowledge and Communication Skills
Chair - Lubov Avdeyeva
Lubov Avdeyeva (St. Petersburg State University). Topic Presentation: Br E or/and Am E.
2. Literature, Culture and Translation.
Chair - Natalia Yulikova
Elvira Osipova (St. Petersburg State University). American Literature in an American Studies Course
Sergei Pshenitsyn (Hertsen Pedagogical University). Culture as Mental Programming and What It Has to Do with ELT Abstract
Andrei Lebedev (Kostroma University). Reading the Short Story Abstract
3. ESP & BESIG
Chair - Lubov Rebikova
Natalia Bespalova (University of Telecommunications). Practicalities of Teaching Business English and ESP
Svetlana Serova (School #83). Testing in Business English
Gregory Pershin (International Management Institute). Topic to be confirmed
Tatiana Ivanova (St. Petersburg State University) Business English: What, Where, When and How?
Natalia Kutovenko (International Banking Institute). Use of American Materials
Georgina Nevzorova, Galina Nikitushkina (Baltic Technical University). Materials Development
15.30. Break. Fair and exhibitions continue
16. 15 - 17.45 Parallel Sessions
1. American Humor
Alice Murray (St. Petersburg). Looking at the Role of Humor in Modern American Southern Literature, Plays and Film Abstract
2. American Art
Svetlana Bebyakina (St. Petersburg State University). Teaching Arts - Exploring Learner-Centered Classroom Environment (talk)
Cynthia Warren & Tatiana Stupina (Irkutsk). Art and Democracy/Art and ELT. A Content-based Language Course in American Visual Art and Principles of Free Speech (workshop) Abstract
3. Betsy Lewis (Moscow). Signposts and Statistics: Using Maps to Teach American Studies (workshop)
18.00 - Closing-up. Raffle. Awards. Certificates of Attendance
Krashen Re-visited - the Dangers of Unfalsifiable Intuition
The theories of Stephen Krashen are well known and have been widely commented upon in the literature. The heart of his theories, the Monitor hypothesis, has been extensively criticised for being unfalsifiable. However a closer examination of the various aspects of his work reveals indirect support from such linguists as N. Chomsky, L. Vygotsky and J. Schumann. The aim of this paper is to present Krashen’s theories as an extremely useful tool to understand variation in SLA and to argue that the hostility that he has drawn has more to do with his way of presenting his arguments than any supposed fallacy in his arguments. Indeed, various stands of current research not only give support to his positions on SLA but also provide the novice teacher with an easy-to-understand framework in which to base L2 teaching.
Charles Graham Aldred, First degree in Modern Languages at
Perugia University, MA from University of London (Institute of Education),
currently completing a PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University of
London. His current position is contract professor in charge of the following
ESP business English courses at the Faculty of Economics (Perugia, Italy):
1. degree course in Economics and Commerce (Perugia), 2. degree course
in Economics of Tourism (Assisi), 3. degree course in Business Administration
Multimedia in ELT: A Modern Must?
Multimedia components are fast becoming the standard rather than the exception in language learning materials :
Gary Anderson obtained his M.A. in English at Boston University in the United States and then the Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language in France. While Pedagogical Director of the language program of the former American Center in Paris, he co-ordinated classes for all ages of learners. He was President-elect of TESOL France when he joined Cambridge University Press in 1995. Currently based in Paris as CUP International Teacher-Trainer for Eurasia, he has given teacher-training workshops from Russia to Egypt, including recent tours in Ukraine and Bosnia. This is his first visit to St Petersburg.
Topic Presentation: BrE or/and Am E
The talk is going to have as its basic material the presentation of the conversational topic «Post-Office» as part of the syllabus for second-year students of the Faculty of Philology of St/Petersburg State University. It is an attempt to point out the units of the relevant vocabulary that are mostly or exclusively used in American English and the ones that are used both in British and American English.
Lubov Alekseyevna Avdeyeva, Assistant Professor, deputy head of the Department of English of St.Petersburg State University, ex-vice-president of SPELTA.
Evaluating Language Learning Software: general approaches and ELT methodology criteria
Workshop deals with current approaches to evaluation of educational software and choice of appropriate criteria of dedicated language learning program evaluation. The criteria should take into account general pedagogical, linguistics, ELT, CAI (Computer Aided Instruction) and CALL methodology requirements. The evaluation criteria allow avoiding programs, which don’t meet these requirements, being aware of possibilities and limitations of existing software, and use its potential to full extent and design methodologically sound programs.
Marina Bovtenko, PhD in Linguistics, associate professor of Novosibirsk State Technical University
How to put it or how to put up with it: Some Effective Techniques for Teaching EFL Writing
Recent research showed that written works by Russian students don't completely meet the international standard. The general outline, structures and choice of words differs remarkably from what is considered a piece of good writing by native speakers of English. The presenter has analyzed a number of essays and would like to present
several possible ways of improvement of this situation.
Alina Chitova is a junior lecturer in St. Petersburg State
University and a post-graduate student working on PhD in Methodology
Reading the Short Story
The short story, especially the modern short story, is in many ways a perfect material for intermediate and advanced EFL teaching. It’s short, concise, packed with meaning, intellectually stimulating and challenging. On the linguistic level, the modern short story, the American short story in the first place, leans toward the everyday vernacular idiom, conversational speech rhythms and cadences, and thus presents an excellent opportunity for a language student, through close engagement with the text, to stay in touch with the living language and its culture. Finally, the short story, as experience shows, is in itself a fine vehicle to ease students into the more elaborate forms of the literary discourse, such as the novel, drama and poetry.
Andrei Lebedev teaches English at the English Department of Kostroma State University
Superstitions, Proverbs, Myths and Legends!!
The world of mythology is alive and well and changing. The legends of the past have given way and made room for the larger-than-life legends of the present. Proverbs are contradictory and adaptable to the motivation of the moment. Belief in superstitions is pooh-poohed, but thriving in the farthest corners of the modern mind. And it’s all great fun.
The Chief Executive Officer of one of America’s Fortune 500 businesses
strides along the sidewalk of New York and walks out and around that ladder
that is leaning against the building. He doesn’t even notice that
he’s done it, and he would surely laugh it off if it were brought to his
attention. But, tomorrow, he’ll do the same. No self-respecting
actor would ever whistle in the dressing room, nor wish other cast members
“good luck” on opening night. And, be aware of that black cat!
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” or is it “Out of sight, out of mind?” It all depends on how one wants to describe, or to justify, one’s actions when that “significant other” is away on business!
Mythology has undergone a complete metamorphosis. The gods and heroes of yesteryear are now projected into a science fiction future created especially by the television and motion picture industry to tell us not how great we were in the past, but how promising is the future when earth’s foibles will have been resolved and space is the final frontier.
And legends have become those people who exist in vibrant technicolor on larger-than-life screens who sometimes live lives beyond the wildest imagination of the rest of us, and who are forgiven anything and everything in the name of fame.
This is another, and often entertaining view of American culture.
Adair Mathers, MA/TESOL, Fellow, posted in Pskov, Russia,
Looking at the Role of Humor in Modern American Southern Literature, Plays and Film
Southern humor, in general, is often boisterous, at times grotesque, and usually realistic. This is certainly found in the works of well-known Southern writers. For example, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Walker Percy are notably some of the premier contemporary authors from the region who have a highly developed comic talent. Although they are much more than comic writers, comedy is an intrinsic component in their writing. Often humor is used in expressions to mask difficult times, a trait that dates back to the Reconstruction period immediately following the American Civil War. This workshop will attempt to analyze humor in excerpts from the contemporary popular novels, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood as well as from the plays, Steel Magnolias and Driving Miss Daisy. If time allows, we will compare the written text to audio or video versions.
Alice Murray, EFL Fellow, St Petersburg
Teaching about American Family Cross-Culturally
Current EFL literature greatly advocates the necessity of teaching the so-called «culture with a small c» in the EFL classroom together with its «big C» counterpart. The «small c culture» encompasses a wide range of phenomena, which are taken for granted by native speakers as these phenomena are deeply rooted in their lives. The American family occupies a substantial niche in the cultural context of the country and consequently finds its reflection in a multitude of culture bound/embedded words which have no equivalents in the Russian language.
The presenter will discuss the cross-cultural differences that exist between American and Russian family traditions, define and relate the problems for discussion in class. She will also demonstrate classroom activities as well as provide the participants with useful vocabulary related to the topic.
Natalia Orlova, PhD, Associate Professor, Herzen State Pedagogical University
Sergei L. Pshenitsyn
Culture as Mental Programming and What It Has to Do with ELT
In teaching English as a second language not only grammar and lexis is a must. The end goal of teaching a foreign language is to enable our students to communicate effectively with other people. This entails being able to interpret both written and oral texts in a foreign language in such a way that would not be incompatible with interpretation by native speakers. The same goes for producing texts - when our students speak or write in English their texts should not cause unintended effects. These goals cannot be achieved unless ELT students become aware of cross-cultural differences. Our students cannot become expert users of English if they don-t realize that there are cultural barriers in cross-cultural communication. Another very important fact about communication is that apart from language there are other factors that can either help it or break it. Non verbal communication rules and customs vary across cultures. Certain behaviors or practices perfectly acceptable in one culture could lead to a breach in communication when people of a different culture are involved. One cannot possibly become really good at communicating with people from the English speaking countries unless one knows their culture.
However, what constitutes culture and how to introduce it effectively to ELT students remains a problem. The purpose of the presentation is to show that teaching culture in ELT should amount to no less than introducing our students to a different language worldview and differences in mental programming. We have to set our students on a journey to make themselves familiar with various dimensions of a foreign culture as a -hidden dimension- and to provide them with certain points of reference.
A highly effective way to introduce culture to ELT students is translation. Practising translation one has to deal not only with languages but with cultures as well. Of necessity translation involves displacement and taking into account a reader whose culture is different. Realizing that you cannot translate by mechanically manipulating the words and structures of the source text provides EFL students with a first hand experience of linguistic and cultural differences, with an excellent opportunity to analyze cultural models at work. Thus teaching translation offers an opportunity to develop cross-cultural awareness in a very meaningful and contextually appropriate way. It also provides quite naturally ways to teach skills to manage cross-cultural differences.
Sergei L. Pshenitsyn PhD, Associate Professor, Hertzen Pedagogical
Strategies for Teaching Collocations in the EFL Classroom
My proposal for the conference is a talk on how native English speakers unconsciously predict what is going to be said based on learned uses of the phrases they are hearing or reading. They have learned which lexical items can acceptably co-occur and which can not. These predictable patterns, phrases or word groups are termed collocations.
The huge number of collocations in the English language has madeany methodical method of teachingthem difficult. In this presentation, I will illustrate classroom strategies I have developed for assisting teachers in imparting the large number of possible combinations collocations present.
Marcia Rauch, an EFL Fellow with the U.S.State Department in Perm, Russia.
An Interviewing Role Play
This is an activity that requires the participants to assume two roles as they engage in a mock interview. In one role, they confer in small groups as members of interviewing committees that must formulate questions they will ask a group of candidates who have applied for a job or an academic program. In the other role, they play the candidates who are competing against each other. In a group with 20 members, most of the participants will have an opportunity to play both of these roles.
This is the kind of activity that can be easily adapted to fit many different situations depending on the topic a teacher might be focusing on in his/her class. There are three phases involved in completing this activity. During the first phase, the participants work together in small groups brainstorming, composing and editing the questions. The teacher should be monitoring the groups to make sure that the questions that are being formulated are comprehensible and will be used to elicit important information from each of the candidates. During the second phase, the 3 (or 4) people who are being interviewed provide creative and thoughtful answers to the interviewers’ questions. In the final stage, the committee members confer and select only one of the candidates for the job or program. An explanation is given for their reasons for selecting this person.
Harold Samuels, the English Language Fellow assigned to Tomsk
Cynthia Warren & Tatiana Stupina
Art and Democracy/Art and ELT
A Content-based Language Course in American Visual Art and Principles of Free Speech
The First Amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of speech. This freedom has come to be broadly interpreted as freedom of expression, “verbal, non-verbal, visual, and symbolic.” The visual medium of art is a form of speech. In turn, it evokes speech (language) in many forms: personal response of viewers, formal criticism, art history, and media coverage, among others. In our content-based EFL art course, students interact with many forms of “speech,” some of which document the public debate that characterizes democratic society. Students can thus develop language skills ranging from simple description and narration, to the argumentative essay and oral debate, which develop the critical thinking skills necessary to participation in public forums.
The content of the course is primarily based on American artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement, which flourished in the period after the Second World War. This movement was responsible for making New York, and America, the center of the art world; thus, it represents a critical moment in American art history. Some sources have claimed that this style embodies democratic principles in the way the poetry of Walt Whitman does. In addition to Abstract Expressionist artists, the course includes a current art controversy in a publicly-funded New York City art museum. Students join in on the public debate surrounding this controversy through the writing of opinion papers and argumentative essays. Not only can art embody democratic principles, but it also provides a proving ground for the testing of those principles.
Cynthia Warren, EFL Fellow Program, American Embassy, English
Tatiana Stupina, EFL Teacher, Irkutsk State Technical University
School Curricula and the Social Order: Politically and Pedagogically “Correcting” African-American Vernacular English (also known as Ebonics)
In 1996, the City of Oakland Board of Education in California passed a resolution to adopt Ebonics (Black English) as a language of instruction. The Board determined that Ebonics was not a dialect of American English, but a separate language. In this way, Ebonics programs became eligible to receive funds earmarked for bilingual education.
The inclusion of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the school curriculum has been recently under attack because it is considered to be racially demeaning due to the use of the word “nigger” and the portrayal of a black man in stereotypical minstrel terms. While one parent sued the school board, some black scholars uphold the validity of teaching the book in the high school curriculum. Some schools consider it an opportunity to teach racial tolerance.
Rap music by black musicians is full of the word “nigga,” which for the in-group is a positive variant of the word “nigger”. Yet if either variant is used by a white it is generally construed as negative. Due to current beliefs of teaching language skills through content based on the background knowledge of learners, some schools have tried to use rap music and its language of Ebonics as texts for study and to promote writing skills. They claim that rap uses many rhetorical devices that can transfer to written work. They have even had students translate rap lyrics into standard English in order to promote the acquisition of the standard dialect. Yet opponents hold that rap is misogynist, violent, and pro-drugs.
Is Ebonics a language or a dialect? Should it be taught? Should The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be taught? Should rap be taught? Would excluding The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the curriculum and substituting different materials be an act of PC? These are the questions we will focus on in this workshop.
Question. What was the most difficult
and the most interesting thing of the first year of your presidency
Answer. One of the difficult things in my first year was time, the amount of time that I found is required as I am eager to understand each of these situations that I face as president of IATEFL in order to find intelligent and useful ways forward. So time was one of the difficult things.
One of the pleasant things is when we managed to find good solutions for new situations, particularly elegant solutions, somehow there is a best solutions when
Q. Could you give and example?
A. I suppose when you have, let us say, committee meeting, there seems to be some complications with how to deal with the certain conferences an associate wants to have, or finding funding for doing something, or getting information, in order to be up to date with what's possible technologically speaking or try to get a job description written by some committee member for a number of people who bring information experience with them it is potentially very time-consuming. And what's satisfying is when one finds a way of dealing with these things and with these people so that we come together and somehow quite elegantly quite rapidly, quite simply a solution is arrived at without endless repetition or unnecessary use of energy. I think of it in terms of time and energy. What is the least amount of time, the least amount of energy that is sufficient to do it well, and what feels good and what doesn't feel good. If the amount of time, the amount of energy, seems to be more than should really be necessary for doing this job you begin to lose sight of what you are trying to do.
Q. What is your feeling of the IATEFL
conference this year? Why is it in Dublin? What do you think about
A. It was in Dublin because, we think it is important to offer delegates interesting places to be as well as going to a conference. That's why we try to move the conference around as you know in Edinburgh last year and next year will be in Brighton. I think that's part of conference fun, really to be in different places. Nevertheless it is as you know quite difficult to find a good conference venue because we are now rather big with a minimum of 12 hundred and maybe up to 15 hundred people. To find a place which has got a large enough exhibition hall but is central, that's absolutely crucial enough rooms for parallel sessions large enough plenary rooms for all the people plus other services such as catering and accommodation they are very very difficult to find. A number of places that we have found that actually satisfied all our criteria, you can count on one or two fingers and so everywhere where we go there was a certain compromise. But, it's wonderful to be here in Dublin and to deal with added interest of rail strike and bus strike, when everybody is living in the town itself.
Q. It was exciting.
A. Yes, very exciting and probably help people to do more tourism that they expected.
Q. Adrian, I liked very much your
article which was recently published in one of the IATEFL Issues.
It is an article on teacher development. Could I ask you to speak more
on that.? What is the place of teacher's association in the process of
A. It's particularly interesting for all of us, because on the one hand as humans we face challenge of personal development for all our lives on the other hand we are all educators, who are through our job involved in education and the process of teaching we are responsible for. So, we ought to be in a very good position to study learning and to study education. My feeling is that learning is living and living is learning. I feel that most people want to develop themselves through their lives and I feel that is certainly the case with children and perhaps as adults we sort of forget that or lose track with our own biological, psychological, spiritual wish to become what we can be, and constantly each moment to become the next thing that we can become which is never finished. It seems to me that this is true of everyone though not necessarily active in all of us all of the time and all sorts of conditions perhaps especially in modern life side- track us from this as we become involved in difficulties and trivia of life. An association, I think, can be very helpful in bringing these two things together an association like ours can help to keep in mind professional development which I don't really separate from personal development they are part and pulse of the same thing. I wonder to what extend professional development is possible if personal development is not taking place at the same time and I wonder what development that professional development is if there isn't some aspect of personal growth or personal challenge and I think an association like this can really help us to both focus on the learning that we bring to ourselves and the learning that we bring to our students. I guess I believe that we can only help others to learn to the extend that we are learning ourselves. And I don't just mean help others to learn a language by learning a language ourselves, that's true of course but more fundamental learning of ourselves as evolving ourselves throughout our lives.
Q. What are the latest developments
A. Overall like two with all the other people involved try to help IATEFL always to be felt to be more relevant to the members' jobs. Some innovations have to do with concrete things like Wider Membership Scheme to make possible for people from poorer countries become members, developing the electronic Web site so we can stay in touch, developing IATEFL Issues
finding effective ways to work with associates as synergy and everyone is benefiting.
We constantly think what other things we could introduce and these things can be fed into other conferences that are related to IATEFL and there are some other things.
Q. You have just said that professional
development and personal development go together. At the same time being
President takes a lot of your time. You are teaching, you are writing books?
How do you manage to combine?
A. I have never worked so hard in my life. Before I run as the president, I was employed by a school. When I became president I stopped working for that school, so I became freelance. My work as a president takes a great deal of time. I work at my own expense. It is a particular pressure on me. My aim is of course to do this well. At the same time I am studying from masters in responsibility and business practice. I took a course in the school of management, an excellent course.: how we decide on responsibility in business. To save good people we need news paradigm business. In IATEFL and in business work we practice get together constancy which focus on people who come to do a new kind of work and have their own values, rather than leave them at home. This would be common sense, sensuality in business, new kind of work.. Many countries that are part of IATEFL have different management concepts of what kind of leadership is required. It is important to show how the decision is made and how do you move towards this.
Q. To finish up, what would
you like to say to our association?
A. Being a teacher is a very important thing for the people we are working with and in fact for the whole globe. We are up against all difficulties. Youngsters are not willing to learn what we are teaching. Kids go out to play and we can see them engaged. The question is how could we bring this motivation down to the classroom.
Q.Thank you very much for your interview
and for the work you have been doing for IATEFL.
A. Good luck to SPELTA!