Teaching resources at the British Council website

BETA is pleased to announce that there are wonderful opportunities to use a large number of free resources and support for teachers and learners of English available at the British Council website. The links are:
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/
(teachers have to register – this is free – and then they can download materials and join in online discussions with other teachers and visiting experts)
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/
http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/
You can keep up to date with the British Council Bulgaria news and events by subscribing to their newsletter at http://www.britishcouncil.org/bulgaria-newsletter-subscribe-cc.htm

Teacher Training Event of Pilgrims Ltd (UK), Ruse University and BETA-IATEFL

Dear Colleagues,
Pilgrims Ltd (UK), Ruse University and BETA-IATEFL would like to invite all teachers of English to take part in a teacher training workshop, led by Tim Bowen, a well-known ELT author and Pilgrims teacher trainer.
A BETA-IATEFL representative will be there to provide information and answer questions about BETA and its activities.
The date is 5th November (Friday) 2010.
The venue: Ruse University, Ruse, building 2, room 203
Time: 13.30-17.00
Contact: s.velikova@gmail.com or  tharakchiyska@uni-ruse.bg
Best wishes,
The Organizing Team
Click here for more information on the topics of the workshop sessions and how to register.

Financial Support

BETA members can apply for a bursary that can cover their travel expenses or fees for attending national and international ELT events. If you would like to receive a bursary to attend a professional event in Bulgaria or abroad, send us a letter of interest and your speaker’s abstract to beta.iateflbg@gmail.com .

How to promote active citizenship through foreign language teaching?

Written by: Slava Tcherpokova & Verzhiniya Velkova,  New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria
Download: Article in MS Word format
Abstract:
Nowadays the gap between policymakers and citizens is widening and there is a growing concern about social apathy, passive citizenship and declining social attitudes in a multicultural Europe and particularly in Bulgaria. In this context, the question that this paper addresses is if, and to what extent, the way we teach foreign language impacts Active Citizenship and what can be done to enhance Active Citizenship through language teaching?

Tales and children’s books in teaching young learners

Written by: Zhivka Ilieva, e-mail: zhivka_ilieva@yahoo.com
Tales and children’s books are a rich resource of authentic linguistic input. Using a book while storytelling motivates children for extensive reading: they sometimes bring other books from the same collection or books on the same topic.
Working with stories, the students develop linguistic notions and become more skillful in using various grammatical categories and richer vocabulary stock without being explicitly taught.
Listening to and working with the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Golilocks 2006), the children meet authentic language, they are exposed to linguistic phenomena and in the process of work gradually acquire them without being taught. Moreover, at this stage explanations about the articles, case of the noun, noun and verb phrases and syntactic structures would only confuse the students. In the familiar context of fairytales and children’s books, the students acquire successfully linguistic models beyond their zone of actual development (Vygotsky 1983).
1. Linguistic analysis of the story
In this story we meet the following linguistic phenomena:
There are proper (Goldilocks) and common (bed, chair) nouns; countable (a family, bowl) and uncountable (some porridge) nouns; nouns in singular (house) and nouns in plural (bears); nouns in possessive case: singular (Mama Bear’s porridge) and plural (the bears’ house).
We see use of indefinite, definite and zero article:
Noun Phrases, indefinite article: a family of bears, a little girl named Goldilocks;
Prepositional Phrases, indefinite article: for a walk, in a pretty little house;
Noun Phrases, definite article: the porridge, the bears’ house, the bowls of porridge, the bears;
Prepositional Phrases, definite article: in the forest, on the door, into the house, to the bedroom;
Noun Phrases, indefinite pronoun: some porridge for breakfast;
Zero article: a family of bears, some porridge for breakfast;
The students see the use of indefinite, definite and zero article not in isolation but in the corresponding phrases: noun phrases, prepositional phrases. In this story are used other determiners as well.
Noun Phrases with other determiners: Papa Bear’s bowl of porridge; Mama Bear’s porridge; Baby Bear’s porridge; on Papa Bear’s chair and Mama Bear’s chair; Baby Bear’s chair; Papa Bear’s bed; Mama Bear’s bed; Baby Bear’s little bed; Baby Bear’s porridge. We see that possessives are very often used in the story.
Prepositional Phrases with other determiners: into their three bowls, in Baby Bear’s bed.
Through this story the students meet all the grammatical categories of the noun in meaningful context (for grammatical categories of the noun see Molhova 1992 and Molhova 1993). With suitable follow up activities, they memorize certain phrases as whole chunks (Ellis 1992, Tough 1991, Wells 1986) and start using them as a whole or as a formula with free slots.
Various types of pronouns are used in the story: personal subject and object case, possessive, demonstrative (this), relative (when), indefinite (someone).
Adjectives in adjectival phrases are often used: adverb (intensifier) + adjective: too hot, too cold, too big, too hard, too soft, so cosy and warm, very frightened.
Adjectives are used in a combination adj. + noun in the NP Baby Bear’s little bed and adj. + adj. + noun in the PP in a pretty little house, where the students can see the order of the adjectives used before a noun (Burlakova 1984).
Various adverbs are used: upstairs, then, soon, there once.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a traditional tale in the past simple tense: the students see regular (lived, poured, knocked, answered, tried, growled, jumped up) and irregular verbs (was/were, made, said, found, went, ate, broke, fell (fast asleep), came (home), woke up, ran away); use of gerund (tried sitting); examples of present simple tense (cools), present perfect tense passive voice (has not been seen) and past perfect tense (had eaten and broken); past participle: named (a girl named Goldilocks); the verb phrase Let’s go.
There are coordinating and subordinating conjunctions: that, while, but, and, so; various prepositions (in, into, on, to, for); numerals: one (day), three (bowls).
Syntax
The students see complex and compound sentences and the clauses in them (Quirk 1985):
X-                                                  Y-                                                                  -Y-X
(There once was a family of bears [that lived in a pretty little house in the forest] ) Subordination: attributive clause.
X-                         Y-                                                   Z-                                 -Z-Y-X
(Papa Bear said, [“Let’s go for a walk in the forest {while the porridge cools}”]  ) Subordination: object clause, adverbial of time.
X-                                    Y-                        -Y-X
(She was very frightened [when she woke up] ) Subordination: adverbial clause (time).
1                                      1        2                          2
[She knocked on the door], but [no one answered]. Syndetic coordination: two independent
1                                      1        2                          2      clauses.
[    i n d e p e n d e n t     ], but [    independent    ]
She went into the house and found the bowls of porridge. Syndetic coordination: two independent clauses.
Papa Bear’s bed was too hard, and Mama Bear’s bed was too soft. Syndetic coordination: two independent clauses.
Someone had eaten Baby Bear’s porridge and broken his chair! Syndetic coordination: two independent clauses. The two clauses have the same subject and it is ellipted in the second clause together with the auxiliary verb.
Goldilocks jumped up and ran away. Syndetic coordination: two independent clauses, ellipsis of subject.
2. Lesson Plan
Aims: To acquire linguistic structures without being explicitly taught
To develop the students’ vocabulary stock
To develop their communicative skills
To develop interest in and motivation to read stories and books in English
Objectives:

  • Vocabulary:

There is the lexico semantic field of family (Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Baby bear) and furniture (bed, chair, table); with the help of the first picture, we develop the lexico semantic field house (fence, door, windows, roof, chimney, walls). During the discussion “Where will they go?” the students develop the lexico semantic field of wild animals, flowers, colours, forest or nature: mushrooms, bushes, trees, river, lake, lawn.

  • Grammar: past simple tense, possessive (’s, s’)
  • Skills: listening and understanding, reading comprehension, talking on various topics connected to the story (e.g. breakfast time; describe the house, the family, the walk, the intruder/guest)

Time: 2×40 min
Materials: a set of 11 books (Goldilocks 2006) for a class of 20 students and pieces of paper to cover the words for the 2 tests (10 different colours – for each book) and uhu tack to stick the pieces over the words (they are numbered from 1 to 73 for the cloze test and from 1 to 27 for the gap filling exercise).
Interdisciplinary relations: Literature, Man and Nature
Lesson 1
I Warm up
II Reading the story
Asking the question “Where can they go?” after Papa Bear’s suggestion to go for a walk.
III Discussion and retelling the story with the help of the pictures from the book (a whole class activity)
IV Cloze test based on the story
Every third word in the story is covered by a colour piece of paper, stuck by means of uhu tack. The pieces are numbered. In pairs the students write on the pieces of colour paper the words missing. We need different colour for each pair and numbers in order to follow and anlyze easily the results of each pair.
This is a reading book exercise. The book is part of a set of 6. If there are 4 or 5 classes each can buy two sets supporting the class library for extensive reading (Bamford and Day 1997, Hill 1997) and we can use the same books in all 5 classes. This way each child touches the book, reads the story from the authentic source and takes part in a cloze test. Interest in stories in English and in reading the rest of the books from the series is provoked.
All the students have already listened to the story, the new element is they have to fill in every 3rd or nth word (For cloze tests and gap filling see Heaton 1991, Weir 1990).
V Check up of IV and storytelling 3
After the students finish the activity, we check up together as a whole class activity and the students remove the paper to uncover the blanks. The teacher collects the pieces of paper with the students’ answers.
VI Role play (Mama Bear talks while preparing the breakfast and laying the table. Some Mama Bears ask the other two members of the family to help laying the table, in other bear families the students create a morning family conversation, in others the child and the father offer their help.)
VII Cloze up
Lesson 2
I Warm up
II Gap filling
The procedure is similar to that in the cloze test, but the purpose again is not testing – it is storytelling in a new situation and reinforcing the phrases, acquisition of the main structures. Working in pairs the students complete each other’s knowledge, discuss the gaps and the material and finally acquire new formulas and break some of the already acquired ones.
III The students create their own story using the key phrases:
Once upon a time there was/were………. That lived ………………
One day …………………………………………………………….
VI Cloze up
3. Cloze test analysis
The cloze test analysis shows that 100% of the students fill in correctly the phrases there once was a family of bears and in the forest.
54% of the students fill in the correct verb live. However only 8% use the past simple tense; 23% use the third person singular present simple tense; and 23% use the present simple unmarked, which is also acceptable in this case: we can view the family as a whole (3rd person singular) or as consisting of a few members (3rd person plural) (Molhova 1992).
31 % of the students fill in correctly in a pretty little house. The phrase sounds complete with one adjective.
77% correctly fill in one day, Mama Bear and their three bowls (bowl is a new word, introduced through the story).
69% – some porridge (porridge is also a new word).
The subject she in the beginning of a sentence is filled in by 23% of the students.
23% use in instead of into. Having in mind that these are young learners and the purpose is not testing, but linguistic and communicative skills development, the answer is correct.
23% of the students write Papa Bear said and 8% use say instead of the past simple tense.
38% of the students use a wrong preposition (to) in the expression go for a walk. No one uses the correct preposition, which shows that in order to acquire the phrase, the students need more work. This is the reason next time we skip another word in the expression. The purpose is to stop the students’ attention on the phrase and this way give them a reason for reading it a few times while choosing the word walk.
The second phrase in the forest is filled in correctly by 62% of the students. This and the low result in the second half of the story show that if every 3rd word is deleted, the test becomes too long for young learners – the story should be split into 3 parts for the students to fill in most gaps (young learners have a comparatively short attention span (Trifonov 1996)). We can divide the class into 3 groups (this, however, means less number of tests for analysis) and if the check up is done by the teacher reading two words and making a pause for the whole class to react, the two groups who do not have this excerpt of the story, also take part in the choral answer, reinforcing the expressions and the whole story.
The analysis of the smaller cloze tests based on the tale divided into 3 parts, shows that the first 2 gaps in each excerpt are filled in correctly by 100% of the students and the result does not fall under 23% for the other gaps.
In the expression while the porridge cools 8% use until instead of while and 15% use then; 8% fill in correctly cools, 15% use cool and 31% – cold. Totally 54% use a word with the same root.
A …… girl is filled by little by 31% and 15% use beautiful, which is not the same as in the story, but makes a meaningful expression. This shows that the students can use the formula creatively, filling in the slots with a different word of the same class (adjective).
38% fill in correctly the name of the girl.
The phrase the … house is filled in by 45% of the students: 15% write bears’ (as in the story, 15% do not use the plural and the possessive markers (s’), 15% use little, which is meaningful in the given context. This again shows that the students think about the meaning of the story and not about the exact phrase they have met in it.
23% use correctly the verb in the expression knocked on the door; 38% use correctly the noun door and 15% use house instead of it.
But no one answered is filled with body by 23% of the students, with anybody by 15% and with any by 15%.
The past simple tense of go is correctly filled in by 38% of the students. 38% fill in house, and 8% use home instead of it.
The phrase the bowls of porridge is filled in with the definite article by 23% of the students and 46% use the numeral 3 instead of the article, 69% fill in correctly the noun porridge.
Papa Bear’s bowl of porridge is filled in correctly by 38% of the students.
Was too hot is filled in correctly by 31%, 15% use is (the present instead of the past tense) and 8% use it’s (a subject + present simple of be); the same is the result with … too cold and … just right. Later on the phrase … just right is filled correctly by only 15% and 8% use is (the present instead of the past tense).
69% correctly fill in Papa Bear’s porridge and Mama Bear’s porridge. In a later sentence in the phrase Papa Bears’ … the word is filled in by 38% of the students (we notice decrease – which is in support of shorter tests), and still later 8% use was and 8% – is.
In the phrase then she ate it all up 8% correctly fill in then and 23% replace it by and which would be correct if it was not preceded by a comma, but we have to keep in mind that young learners have not studied syntax thoroughly. Only 8% fill in correctly the personal pronoun object case.
23% correctly use the subject pronoun she and 15% replace it with Goldilocks (the referent).
On Papa Bear’s chair: 15% fill the preposition on and 31% – the noun chair.
In the phrase Mama Bear’s chair 38% use the possessive case of the noun and 15% use the noun bear without the possessive case marker.
They were too big is filled in correctly by 15% of the students, 8% use are (the present instead of the past tense) and 8% use was (the singular instead of the plural).
15% use up instead of upstairs. 15% correctly fill in the noun bedroom.
In the expression Papa Bear’s bed was too hard 62% fill correctly both slots.
In Mama Bear’s bed was too soft 69% fill the noun in the possessive case and 15% – use the nominative case. The intensifier too is used by 46% and 31% use very, which again shows that the students can substitute the words in the formula and transfer the meaning and not the exact words.
In the phrase The bears came home 8% use the definite article and 15% use the numeral three (a numeral as a determiner instead of the article), 23% use home correctly. 23% use the correct verb but a wrong form (ate instead of eaten).
Baby Bear’s porridge is filled in correctly by 15% of the students; Baby Bear’s bed – by 23% and broken his chair – by 23%.
23% use correctly the verb found and the subject pronoun she.
15% of the students use in instead of into, which is also correct.
The expression very frightened is another example of breaking the formula – 8% use very and 8% use another intensifier – too.
Papa Bear growled is filled in correctly by 46% of the students.
Goldilocks as a subject is filled in by 15%.
The subject it is filled in only by 8%.
The verbs broke and tried are filled in correctly by 8% of the students.
The conjunction and is filled in by 8% of the students and 8% replace it by so, which is meaningful in this context.
Towards the end of the test there are seven gaps that are not filled by anyone.
4. Analysis of the gap filling test.
This is another reading comprehension activity reinforcing the key phrases that can be used with children’s tales and books. Here the deletion of words is not on regular intervals. Certain structures are chosen to be tested or reinforced. At some places more than one word is deleted or hidden. The test results are as follows:
In a family of bears 67% use the plural and 33% use the singular.
In a pretty little house 91% fill in the required word.
Made some porridge 33% fill it correctly, 8% write come (a spelling mistake), 26% use an indefinite article instead of the indefinite pronoun.
Poured it into – nobody has filled the personal pronoun in the object case. 25% use porridge (the referent) and 25% use up.
Let’s go for a walk is filled in correctly by 100% of the students.
A little girl called G. 8% fill in correctly and 8% use name.
But no one answered 25% use nobody instead of no and 16% use any instead of no.
She went… and saw 58% fill in correctly went; 8% use saw and 33% use find instead of it, which can be used in this context but in the past tense.
Papa Bear’s bed was… 66%
Was too cold 75% use too and 16% use the intensifier very, which is also correct.
Too big 50% use very and 16% use so. No one uses the exact words from the formula, but 66% create meaningful and correct sentences.
Was too hard is filled correctly by 91% of the students.
She ate it all up 25% use the correct form and 8% use eaten (the past participle instead of the past tense form).
Papa Bear’s chair is filled in by 50% of the students.
Was just right 42% use the phrase from the story and 16% use too small, which is not true in the story but makes a meaningful sentence and follows logically if the parents’ beds are too big.
To the bedroom 50% of the students fill it in correctly.
Mother Bear’s bed was … 66% write the phrase correctly, 25% do not use the possessive form and 16% write bad instead of bed.
Baby Bear’s little bed 66% use correctly the possessive case and 8% use the nominative case.
Fell fast asleep 16% use was, 8% use slept and 8% use felt.
Came home 8% use come (the base instead of the past tense), 16% use back without a proper verb.
Someone had eaten is filled in by 8% of the students.
…and broken his chair – 25% fill in correctly the past tense form of the verb.
They found 16%; 25% use They saw instead, which can be used in the context.
She was very frightened 8% use it correctly, 8% use frighten, 8% write skaried intending to use scared.
When she woke up 8% use it correctly, 16% use get (the past tense would be meaningful in this context).
Ran away the correct form of the verb is used by 8% and 50% use the base.
One student writes up on the place of dots (growled up).
Conclusions
Listening to tales / stories and reading children’s books, the students remember easily certain phrases. The cloze test and gap filling, based on a familiar tale, reinforce the language and show the teacher which phrases and linguistic material are successfully acquired, and which need more work. The analysis of these tests reveals the structures the students can use creatively and the formulas they are able to break. The dialogues and creating stories give the students opportunities to use the acquired language: to practice and further develop linguistic and communicative skills. Analysis of the stories created by the students will show the linguistic material the students are fluent with.

References

  • Bamford and Day 1997: Bamford, J., R. Day. Extensive Reading: What Is It? Why Bother?, The Language Teacher, http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/files/97/may/extensive.html.
  • Burlakova 1984: В. В. Бурлакова. Синтактические структуры современного английского языка. In J. Molhova, T. Seizova-Nankova 1996. Reader in English Syntax. УИ „Константин Преславски”, Шумен, 5-24.
  • Ellis 1992: R. Ellis. Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: OUP.
  • Goldilocks 2006: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Kohwai&Young Publications, Malaysia.
  • Heaton 1991: J. B. Heaton. Writing English Language Tests, 4th impression. Longman, USA.
  • Hill 1997: D.R. Hill. Setting up an extensive reading programme: Practical tips. The Language Teacher, http://www.jalt-publications.org/tlt/files/97/may/hill.html.
  • Molhova 1992: J. Molhova. The Noun. A Contrastive English-Bulgarian Study. 2nd ed. София: УИ „Климент Охридски”.
  • Molhova 1993: Ж. Молхова. Характер и употреба на члена в българския и английския език. София: УИ „Климент Охридски”.
  • Quirk et al 1985: R. Quirk et al. A Comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.
  • Tough 1991: Y. Tough. Young Children Learning Languages. In C. Brumfit, J. Moon, R. Tongue, Teaching English Children from practice to principle. Collins, 223-224.
  • Trifonov 1996: Тр. Трифонов. Обща психология. София: ИК Памет.
  • Vygotsky 1983: Л. Виготски. Мислене и реч. София: Наука и изкуство.
  • Weir 1990: C.J. Weir. Communicative language testing. Prentice Hall, UK.
  • Wells 1986: G. Wells. The Meaning Makers Children Learning Language and Using Language to Learn. London: Hodder&Stoughton.



Creativity and young learners

Written by: Zarina Markova
Download: Presentation in Adobe .PDF format
Consider these behaviours?
Josh is a resident of a remote rural area. For the past three years he has been sitting on the porch of his dilapidates shack, knitting himself purple mittens with no thumbs. He talks to himself incessantly about everything he has ever seen or done. Is he creative?
Joseph is Josh’s neighbour. Joseph is the local wit. His jokes are expressions of associations between extremely remote ideas. They are never funny. Is Joseph creative?
During a routine procedure in a laboratory, a scientist accidentally spills a small amount of chemical into a large container filled with sweet cream. The cream immediately turns into four cows (a reversal phenomenon). Is the scientist creative?


Poems
[twocol_one]Acrostic
Bright-eyed
Engaged
Throbbing
Audience[/twocol_one]
[twocol_one_last]Contrast Poem
A dog is friendly,
A dog is intelligent,
A dog is loyal,
But a dog isn’t human.[/twocol_one_last]
[twocol_one]Adjective Poem
Fog
Fog is white.
Fog is white, wet.
Is white, wet, thick.
White, wet, thick, cold.
Morning.[/twocol_one]
[twocol_one_last]Five Senses Poem
The desert.
The desert is red and yellow.
It tastes like a chilli pepper.
It sounds like snakes.
It smells like the sun.
It looks like red rocks and sand.
It makes me feel hot and thirsty.[/twocol_one_last]


Definitions of creativity

Creativity involves fluency, flexibility, and originality
Fluency: producing lots of ideas;
Flexibility: producing ideas of various types;
Originality: producing uncommon ideas.
(Guilford, 1959)

Creativity is ‘the forming of associative elements into new combinations which either meet specified requirements or are in some ways useful. The more mutually remote the elements of the new combination, the more creative the process of solution’
(Mednick, 1962)

Creativity results in ‘a novel work that is accepted as tenable or useful or satisfying by a significant group of others at some point in time’
(Stein in Parnes and Harding [eds.], 1962)

Creativity involves fluency, flexibility, elaboration (building and embellishing existing ideas) and originality
(Guilford, 1968)


Resources:

  • Gallagher, J. J. 1966 Research Summary on Gifted Child Education State of Illinois: Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Guilford, J.P. 1950 Creativity. American Psychologist, 5
  • Guilford, J.P. 1968 Intelligence. Creativity and their Educational Implications. San Diego, Robert R. Knapp Publications
  • Lefrancois, G.R. 1988 Psychology for Teaching Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company

English culture and education – a contribution to English language acquisition in Bulgaria – a cross-cultural analysis

Written by: Yana Slavcheva Manova, e-mail: manova.yana@yahoo.com
Aim:
In creating the image of a nation one can always rely on the traditions and customs in a particular group of people and in order to understand the attitude towards education, one should first scrutinize the meaning and importance of different aspects of the life of a nation. Intercultural analysis is a very complex matter and undoubtedly it has numerous aspects. It can be viewed from the point of values, attitude, education, traditions, behavior, etc.
In my presentation I aim at exploring the educational system of Bulgaria and the UK, taking into consideration the values that students at the average age of 15 have acquired in their lives through their families. My idea is to prove the connection between family and tradition on the one hand, and tradition and success in acquiring a foreign language, on the other.  For students at such an early age, it is quite difficult to derive the idea of future career, but it is highly probable and expected for these students to create the image of typical family values.
For the sake of my analysis, a survey was conducted among 50 students living in the UK and attending one comprehensive school in London and 50 representatives of the Bulgarian school system who study in Blagoevgrad. The students living in the UK comprise 60% Muslims, 15% Hindi, as well as 25% Christians. The interesting factor in this variety is that all of these students are second and third generation immigrants in the UK. They have acquired English as their first language at school, but have preserved the traditions of their culture, this being a clear example of living in two cultures, which is also proved by their answers in the survey.
Naming the term culture I should indicate that there are a great number of definitions of culture serving different purposes, but the most general one that is used by anthropologists and sociologists is that “culture is everything that is man-made: technological artifacts, skills, attitudes and values.”(Lawton 1975:10). Another definition of the term is: “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time” (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,2nd edition). Culture comprises different elements, but serving the purpose of the current analysis, it is important to mention that culture is learned, shared, based on symbols, and serves as an integrated system (Samovar, Larry 2009:25, 26). There are also other elements of culture among which are “history, religion, values, social organizations, and language” (Samovar, Larry 2009:25, 26). Of all elements of culture, the one most closely related to the topic discussed is that of social organization. That group includes schools, media, family, etc. Although it is very difficult to summarize the attitudes and traditions of a nation, as one cannot say that the representatives of a group of people carry the same values, the presentation is an attempt to look deeper into traditions and their reflection on the way of thinking of students, because the meaning of culture is to be transferred to the following generations and thus to be preserved.
Findings about culture in the UK:
In the process of research about English culture one can come across different traditions, but the findings of the current survey have shown an example of culture preservations in an English environment. The students participating in the survey are not of English descend and English culture appears to be their target culture. Although the assumption about students born and bred in England would be related to the acquisition of the target culture, the survey proves the opposite. In relation to traditions, the students either do not have an idea about traditions in their family, or the traditions belong clearly to their source culture. Although 26% of the students give no answer to the question of the most important traditions in their families, there is still 40% who show interest and think of Eid and Ramadan traditions as being most memorable for them. Religious occasions and prayer, as well as respect and family honour present 24 % of the answers. These suggestions were given by the students of Muslim descent.
Another tradition is also mentioned, but referring to Hindi culture- Daar Chawal and Diwali. Having in mind the fact that there are 15% Hindi students, their traditions are mentioned by 8% of the 15-year-olds.
Christmas is also mentioned, but only by 2% of the students.
In conclusion, 60% of students think that culture is influenced by a country’s customs.
Findings about culture in Bulgaria:
As to culture in Bulgaria, the students who took part in the survey were representatives of the Bulgarian culture and Bulgarian is their mother tongue. Their traditions and upbringing follow the understanding of Bulgarians of traditions and culture, which is also seen in the answers in the survey. 78% of the students name the most important traditions in their families to be Christmas, Easter, and holidays in general. It appears that 10% do not know of any Bulgarian traditions, which is twice fewer than the UK representatives. As a conclusion, 84% of the students definitely believe that the culture of a country is influenced by its traditions.
Education in the UK and Bulgaria- a comparative view:
Education in the UK, as well as in Bulgaria, is compulsory but with a difference in the age of starting school. In the UK the period of education is between the ages of 5 and 16, with children attending state schools or independent (fee-paying) schools, whilst in Bulgaria they start school at the age of seven and their education is compulsory up to age of sixteen .The school systems of interest here are those after the age of eleven that is, secondary education, or high school (US).
Most children in the UK go to secondary schools at the age of 11 – usually to their nearest one. Most secondary schools cater for both sexes. They tend to be much larger than primary schools. Comprehensive schools as part of the British educational system provide education for students up to the age of 16 or 18. Grammar Schools are selective, they offer academically oriented general education. Entrance is based on a test of ability, usually at the age of eleven. Grammar schools are single sexed schools. Public schools are independent secondary schools. They are not run by the government. The entrance exams used by most public schools are known as Common Entrance exams and are taken at the age of 11 with girls or 13 with boys.
Secondary schools in Bulgaria differentiate in relation to their professional orientation. Secondary education can be divided into secondary general vocational. Secondary general education can be attained at secondary comprehensive schools with duration of studies 4 years and profile-oriented schools with duration of studies 4 to 5 years. Secondary vocational education can be attained at technical schools after the completion of grade 8 and a 4-year training, as well as after the completion of grade 7 and a 5-year training with intensive foreign language instruction. There are relatively few fee-paying schools in Bulgaria and all schools are mixed.
The phenomenon that is of greater interest and discussion in the presentation, however, is the attitude of students towards education and English language acquisition. As previously mentioned, all students have English as a subject at school but in Bulgaria it is a foreign language, while in the UK it is considered their first language. Notwithstanding this difference, both participants of the survey consider studying English important. 94% of the Bulgarians write that English is important for their future career and travelling, while 34% of the English students find it important for their future realization in life. Some of the explanations why students do not need to study a foreign language are because they already speak English. However, something interesting arises with the number of foreign languages that a person should study if they want to be successful in life. 56% of the participants think that one should speak two, as it is the percentage in Bulgaria. This fact leads to the conclusion that although students do not think foreign language acquisition is of vital importance for their career, still education-conscious people should speak at least two languages.
Another subject of interest is the difficulty in gaining knowledge of English. 46% of the Bulgarian students consider English easy, while in the UK the percentage is 52%. The slight difference with the Bulgarians is mainly a result of the fact that they are starting to learn the language, while the English have already got acquainted with the language. As students study different things at school, the English consider literature and speaking and writing about poetry difficult, while Bulgarians find grammar and vocabulary difficult to remember and acquire.
Conclusion:
The culture of a particular society carries the marks of all its people and the traditions of a country are spread by its people. Education, on the other hand, is the instrument of students on their long and complex way to perfection and knowledge. Language acquisition is one of the keys to that perfection. To my mind, if one is well-acquainted with their own cultural identity, they can easily create their own values and understanding of the world.
In learning a foreign language, people learn grammar and vocabulary, but also acquire the idea of the culture of the native speakers. They not only gain knowledge of the language, but also of traditions, values, behaviour, etc. That is one of the main reasons for learning foreign languages. The young representatives of the Bulgarian society proved to have an idea why they should learn a foreign language. From the results of the survey, one can conclude that the stronger and more respectable the traditions of a family are, the more eager the children become to study a foreign language and to use it in their future career and life in general.   Only in this way one can have a broader perspective of life as well as a clearer idea of the importance of English language acquisition. In conclusion, the UK educational system, although similar to the Bulgarian one, offers a different view of culture, this following the different way of life in both countries. This can be understood by the fact that the UK has always been a multinational country, while Bulgaria has followed the route of one culture and one language. Bulgarian students appear to show a clearer and stronger influence of culture on their way of thinking and they also consider English of vital importance for their future realization. From my viewpoint, the family, which is to create and preserve values, has helped in shaping the personality of the 15-year-olds and in building their opinion on different aspects of life.
The importance of foreign language learning can be seen in the answers of enough Bulgarian students to show that the Bulgarian educational system has improved the understanding of youngsters and has provoked their desire to study and acquire knowledge not only of the language itself, but also of traditions, behaviour and culture in general.
Glossary:
Chapatti – Hindi bread
Diwali – a significant 5-day festival in Hinduism, occurring between mid October and mid November. It is also popularly known as the Festival of Lights.
Eid al-Fitr – often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “to break fast”; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.
Ramadan – Each year, Muslims spend the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observing a community-wide fast. Muslims who are physically able are required to fast each day of the entire month, from sunrise to sunset. The evenings are spent enjoying family and community meals, engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection.
Bibliography:












Appendix
A SURVEY
English Education and Culture

  1. How old are you?
  2. What kind of school do you go to?
  3. What subjects do you study at school?
  4. What foreign languages do you study?
  5. Do you think that studying foreign languages is important for your future career and if yes, why?
  6. How many languages do you think a person should fluently speak to be successful in their career?
  7. What are your favourite subjects at school?
  8. What are your least favourite subjects?
  9. Do you find English easy or difficult?
  10. What do you find difficult in studying English?
  11. Do you study a foreign language? If not, which one would you like to study and why?
  12. What is more important- speaking a foreign language or using correct grammar? Would you specify your reasons for that?
  13. Do you think that a well-educated person should speak at least one foreign language?
  14. If you could choose what subjects to study at school what would your choice be?
  15. What are the most important traditions in your family?
  16. Do you think that the culture of a country is influenced by its traditions and customs?
  17. What is the most memorable and important tradition in your family?

Beauty in suggestopedic language teaching and learning

Vanina Bodurova, e-mail: vaninabodurova@hotmail.com
The Prof. Dr. Georgi Lozanov and Prof. Dr. Evelina Gateva Foundation

Abstract: Suggestopedia is based on seven laws. One of them is Use of Classical Art and Aesthetics. The paper reflects on the importance of introducing students to the beauty of the target language and the culture of the people it represents.
Key words: suggestopedia, art, beauty, second language acquisition, catharsis, global-partial, seven laws of suggestopedia
Suggestopedia was originally created as an experimental branch of suggestology- the science of suggestion- in the field of pedagogy by the Bulgarian psychiatrist and brain scientist- Dr Georgi Lozanov. Forty five years have elapsed since the first appearance of the term in the Bulgarian specialized literature – The Narodna Prosveta Journal and 43 since its English equivalent was offered to the participants in the Settimana di Medicina Psico-Somatica in Rome in 1967. Since then, the original theory and practice of suggestopedia has had a dramatic life which led it through its recognition as a psychotherapeutic method by the most prestigious Bulgarian medical professors at the time [1]; the admiration and recommendation of the 20 member international expert group of scientists appointed by UNESCO [2]; the confirmation of the results received in Bulgaria by the State Academy of Pedagogy of Vienna, Austria [3] and the influence the humanitarian approach of suggestopedia has had on the contemporary teaching and learning process in general and language instruction, in particular.
For the purpose of this paper we will not elaborate in further detail on the historical background of the suggestive – desuggestive pedagogy/ suggestopedia/ desuggestopedia/ reservopedia [4]. Here we will briefly define it as a pedagogical trend that operates on the level of the reserves of mind of the human being by using the means of Suggestion [5] which liberates the personality of previous negative conditioning (desuggesting) and stimulates its development (suggesting) with positive effect on the health and education of the personality in its integrity. Suggestopedia takes into account both our emotional and logical human structure, the richness of conscious and paraconscious processes which characterize our individuality. It notices, organizes and teaches how to make use of the weak signals which our whole being exudes in communication. It stresses the importance of the peripheral stimuli and perceptions in our lives. As such Suggestopedia is based on Seven Laws which are observed in every moment of the suggestopedic interaction.


[1] Lozanov, G. “Suggestopedia/Reservopedia, Theory and Practice of the Liberating-Stimulating Pedagogy on the Level of the Hidden Reserves of the Human Mind”, Sofia University Press, 2009 (p.190-192)
[2] The Journal of the Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching, Volume 3, Issue 3, Fall 1978 (p.211)
[3] The Journal of the Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching, Volume 3, Issue 1, 1978 (p.21-37)
[4] These terms have been given by Dr Georgi Lozanov to reflect the process and objective of the suggestopedic interaction.
[5] The Anglo-Swiss Professor Sonia Dougal distinguishes between the suggestions such as the  manipulation, propaganda, etc. and “Lozanov’s Suggestion with capital S, which stands for liberation from conditioning followed by the activation of some of the human personality’s reputed millions of unused, because yet untapped, brain cells.” cited from “Front Line Story. The Language of Suggestion and Desuggestion on the Front Line in Italy (1943-1945)”, Gotthard Media (Gotthard AG) CH-6424 Lauretz, Switzerland, 2001


The careful reading of the Laws transmits the fine equilibrium between what (the tangible matter of the study material) and how (the intangible attitude of the humans partaking the process of instruction). Thus the Seven Laws are:

  1. Love
  2. Freedom
  3. Conviction of the Teacher that Something Unusual is Taking Place
  4. Manifold Increase of Input Volume
  5. Global-Partial, Partial-Global; Partial through Global.
  6. Golden Proportion
  7. Use of Classical Art and Aesthetics

Years of research and wisdom have led the founder of Suggestopedia, Dr Georgi Lozanov to stress that “the laws should be observed simultaneously at each moment by the prestigious teacher”.
Why should a scientist talk about Love and Freedom as a scientific must in suggestopedic teaching which aims at the tapping of the reserves of mind?
Let us turn to Dr Lozanov’s argumentation:

“Love creates serenity, trust and contributes to the prestige of the teacher in the eyes of the learners and thus opens the ways of tapping the reserves in the personality’s paraconsciousness.”
“Love together with the other laws creates the necessary cheerful, genuine and highly stimulating concentrative relaxation. It calls for calmness, steadiness, relaxation and non-strained concentration.”
“The metaphor (a parent helping the child how to ride a bicycle-italics V.B.) illustrates the quality of the psychological relaionship between teacher and learner which is much like the relationship of mother and child”
“When there is Love, there is Freedom”
“Freedom gives the opportunity to the student to listen to their inner voice and to choose their way to the reserves of mind at different moments of the process of instruction. freedom is not being dictated by the teacher, it is a spontaneous feeling in the student that they do not obey the methodology but are free to enjoy it and give personal expression in accordance with their personal traits, i.e. reservopedia is not an imposition; on the contrary, it is opening the door to personal expression.” [6]


We have paused at the first two Laws of suggestopedia because the scientific world has shown some tendency to exclude the philosophical notions of Love and Freedom from its thesaurus. Dr Lozanov, on the contrary, through his lifelong research, shows that the ancient unity of philosophy and science is still relevant today in order to achieve a most responsible aim – tapping the reserves of mind of the human being.
In this line of thought, the structure of the study material and the organisation of the suggestopedic interaction is done in accordance with the laws: Global-Partial, Partial-Global, Global through Partial and the Golden Proportion. All the abovementioned Laws support the Manifold Increased Input Volume which is a clear manifistation of the possibility of the human brain/mind.To them, the Use of Classical Art and Aesthetics Law adds beauty and “creates conditions for optimal psychorelaxation and harmonious states which help provoke a spontaneous increased acquisition state” [7]


[6] Lozanov,G. “Suggestopedia/Reservopedia, Theory and Practice of the Liberating-Stimulating Pedagogy on the Level of the Hidden Reserves of the Human Mind”p.57-58
[7] ibid. p.61


In the particular case of the adult foreign language teaching and learning, art is present at the very first moment of the intake level test ( see Appendix A). In the teacher’s attitude there is delicacy and attention and a relationship of distant proximity is established. The teacher should be close enough to inspire trust and at the same time at a certain distance which leaves space to the other party of the communication not to feel familiarity. ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ as the old saying warns. The distance allows for the feeling of freedom which enhances the easy perception of emotion in the suggestopedic teaching process.
The process of harmonising the teaching with the antisuggestive barriers (logical, affective-intuitive, ethical) of each of the participants is intricate and the suggestopedagogue aims at finding the child personality out of the multiple personalities living in the human being. As a result, he/she will be able to connect at the pure level of perception without the limiting states of mind of suspicion, submitting, aggression. Once this harmonisation has been achieved, the personality starts a process of purification (catharsis) from past negative experiences related to studying.
The Love purifies, the Freedom purifies, the Inspiration, which is a main means of expression in suggestopedia, purifies. Although some stages in the process of teaching may resemble other foreign language classrooms where the feeling of pleasure reigns, in the suggestopedic underlying principle there is the state of Inspiration because another level of communication is being tapped. When the teacher manages to establish this spontaneous suggestive relation of harmonisation and inspiration, the students resonate and they perceive their teacher’s state .The peripheral perceptions are those of expextancy, trust in the hidden, latent potential of the students’ functional reserves. Conditions are created for positive expectations, positive emotions which help establishing a calm and optimistic state and motivation for work. The positive emotions are not an end in themselves. In the suggestopedic interaction they are the basis for the concentrative calmness- a notion which has its roots in the psychotherapy- and attaining of a better acquisition of the study material. The emotional stimuli in suggestopedic art (E. Gateva, 1988, 1991) range from the areas of fine art, theatre, opera, ballet, classical music, photography, choreography and others. The milleu is dense with emotional signals submitted to the Law of the Golden Proportion and in service of the didactical end of introduction to or elaboration of a new code of expression – the foreign language.
The criterion for the creation of this ambience is beauty.
As a philosophical category, beauty may be hard to define. As a psychological necessity, beauty, has been expressed in the words of the master Dostoevski: “Beauty will save the world”.
As an educational – didactic means of expression, beauty makes it possible for a person to be more profoundly engaged with the matter and the spirit, it offers the conditions for an easier acquisition, high motivation, love for the target language and from there- tolerance and interst towards the native population speaking and thinking in it.
An example of the above reflections can be drawn from the poetry used on day 12 from the suggestopedic English language course for beginners, introduced in chapter two in the suggestopedic textbook-play The Return. The lines were written by the Romantic genius of Lord George Gordon Byron: “She Walks in Beauty”:

She walks in beauty like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies
and all that’s best of dark and bright
meets in her aspect and her eyes.


The poetic image of the woman, full of enigma and admiration, provokes the desire to reveal more of the muse who has inspired the lines. They have been chosen to present one of the main characters of the play in a more relief way. It corresponds to the necessity the adult learners have to touch upon the original masterpieces of the English language. The four lines from the first stanza of Byron’s poem are not isolated. They have been inserted into the thoughts of the leading character of the play – Miss Needham-upon her first encounter with the silent men in mackintoshes and the old lady oblivious of her. It is a ray of alleviation in the experience of a foreigner for whom London is still an unknown and alien place. It is a herald of an optimistic meeting, which will have grown into friendship by the end of the play. The romantic language has been supported by the painting on the following page: G. Rommey’s Portrait of the Duchess Elizabeth Derby.The students will be exposed in the unity consciuosness-paraconsciousness to the new language first listening to the poetry as part of the second chapter in the so called active concert session where it will be read with the psychologically impregnated intonation which helps the easier acquisition of the material to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Haffner and Prague. The second music session- the so called pseudopassive session -is conducive to thought and concentrated psychorelaxation which will stabilize the memory tracks. The day after Byron and the epoch he represents will be introduced softly and comprehensibly to the beginners and the beauty of the English language will be present as a stimulus for further immersion, will call forth images which will relate to their past and future states of mind. Later, the students’ sense of rhythm, their oral and aural habits will be carefully engaged in the artistic interpretention of the lines – hesitantly at first and more confidently later in as much as each participant will feel the need to express the emotion that they provoke in him/her. The teacher will invite the students to a reading as a chorus, then individually- the ear will get used to the music of the language, the eye- to its written expression. The students have support at every moment in their mother tongue translation, given to them from the very first beginning of the active session and then on the succeeding days will undertake the responsible task to find the suggestive equivalent of the English into their native language.The verses are a global introduction to the new theme in the text – the aspect and parts of the body.
The use of beauty corresponds to the psychotherapeutic, psychohygienic aims that suggestopedia poses. It is an indespensable part of the whole suggestopedic communicative process. If, according to the theory of suggestology, suggestion is everywhere, then why not use a kind word than a harsh comment to our students, why not express a belief in their abilities than doubt that they can do better, why not surround ourselves with beauty rather than with expressionless environment which does not create any positive emotions in us. The teaching and learning process is not only a study of the matter. Language competences should not only be directed to the utalitarian purposes but should also satisfy the asthetic necessity of the human being to hear, see, express and pronounce beauty.

Teaching terms effectively in ESP

Written by: Valentina Georgieva, N.Y.Vaptsarov Naval Academy, Varna
e-mail: valgeorgieva@yahoo.com
Download: Because this writing is long and uses advanced formatting, it’s also available for download in: MS Word .DOC | Adobe .PDF format
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Abstract: The presentation is aimed at discussing some aspects of effective teaching of specialized vocabulary in ESP lessons. Problems of selecting, presenting and practicing terms will be approached from both theoretical and practical points of view. Examples and conclusions will be based on teaching military terminology to professionals at tertiary level.

INTRODUCTION

This paper aims at discussing some problems of teaching specialized military English terminology at N. Y. Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, but the theoretical considerations and practical suggestions can be applied in any other field of teaching specialized vocabulary, since teaching specialized vocabulary/terminology is an integral, and probably the most important, part of ESP lessons where students study English through a field that is already known and relevant to them to a certain degree – depending on their educational level. Thus, students at a university level will, in an ideal situation, build on their General English knowledge and acquire specialized English terminology after they have already comprehended the specialized knowledge during their lectures and seminars in Bulgarian language. As for the postgraduate trainees who attend specialized English courses as part of their postgraduate education and qualification, they will have a profound knowledge of subject matters.
Most of the linguists and methodologists point out to the following important considerations when discussing ESP teaching in general:

  • differences between General English and Specialized English;
  • importance of needs analysis and ESP course design;
  • approaches to effective learning and roles of the teacher;
  • ESP materials (i.e. vocabulary) selection, presentation and practice.

In addition to commenting on the above points from the perspective of the teaching situation at the Naval Academy, we will also focus our attention on some effective techniques for teaching military terms and will present some sample exercises with them.

ESP VOCABULARY TEACHING: NEEDS ANALYSIS

Specialists underline that “specific” in ESP refers to the specific purpose for learning English (Fiorito, Anthony): “Tell me what you need English for and I will tell you the English that you need” is the guiding principle of ESP”, state Hutchinson and Waters (Hutchinson, Waters, p. 8); “ESP is designed to meet specific needs of the learner” is the most important characteristic according to Dudley-Evans and St John (Dudley-Evans, St John, p. 4). Specific learning needs of the trainees at military educational institutions and the Naval Academy in particular are driven by the requirements stated by the MoD in the document, called “Strategy for the Development of English Language Training System. Aims, Mission, Tasks and Main Components” (Стратегия) where among the aims are: to provide conditions to servicemen for the acquisition of English knowledge and skills, necessary for the successful implementation of their professional tasks in a multinational environment, as well as to establish proper conditions for acquiring such knowledge and skills by cadets at military schools. The mission is to provide high quality and effective training in line with the needs of the Armed Forces to achieve interoperability with NATO members. The tasks are related to using standardized programs for English language training aimed at improving writing, reading, listening and speaking. According to this Strategy, the ultimate goal of English training at military institutions is related to successful fulfillment of students’ professional tasks in a multinational environment.
As seen from this document, all language skills are considered equally important, which raises some question: what English do trainees at the Naval Academy actually need – General or Specialized? What should be ratio between them? Shouldn’t there be a stress on a particular skill they would most likely need in order to perform their duties more successfully? What should we prioritise in the syllabus?
Practice and feedback from students have proved that the answers to these questions depend on many factors, among which the most important are the position of the officer and his specialty. ESP postgraduates at the Naval Academy are adults most of whom (except participants in courses for beginners) already have some acquaintance with English and are learning the language in order to communicate a set of professional skills and to perform particular job-related functions. Thus, officers who need English most are those who work at Naval HQ and General Staff, who communicate in English both in a written form and orally with NATO and non-NATO partners, as well as senior commanding officers, who regularly participate in international training exercises, activities, and meetings. Officer’s specialty is also important, because, for example, Deck officers will have more exposure to English, while Ship Engineers will need less.
A more precise picture of actual needs of trainees who participate in English courses at the Department for Postgraduate Studies at the Naval Academy is possible thanks to questionnaires they fill in at the end of each course. Thus, 253 questionnaires have been collected in the period from 15.05.2006 to 18.12.2009. They provide feedback of the training experience in studying English by officers, NCOs and privates, as well as small number of civilians, who participated in 25 groups in six different courses: from Level One to Four, as well as in Refresher Courses Modules 1 and 2. The syllabus of the courses from the so called levels 1-4 is based mainly on the American Language Course Books 1-36[1] and Refresher courses are based mainly on General English Course books (Headway[2], Cutting Edge[3]) with specialized lessons from the Campaign[4] Course book and English for the Military textbook (Georgieva 2005). Alongside with answering questions about the learning facilities and the self-access resource center, teachers’ methods and punctuality, teacher-students interaction, and forms of control, there are two questions which are closely connected to evaluating trainees’ needs:

  1. According to you, is the course syllabus adequate to the course objectives?
    1. do you think there are unnecessary topics? If yes – which ones?
    2. do you think there are missing topics? If yes – which ones?
  2. How do you personally assess the results you achieved during the course?

[1] American Language Course, Books 1-36, Defence Language Institute, English Language Center, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
[2] Soars J. and L., M. Sayer: New Headway, OUP
[3] Cunningham S., P. Moor: New Cutting Edge, Person, Longman
[4] Mellor-Clark S., Y. B. de Altamirano: Campaign, MacMillan


The question about the syllabus gets mostly positive answers, e.g. “The syllabus is adequate” and it is rated on a 6-grade scale as follows:
In addition, some of the trainees comment on the topics they think need a change or need to be included. Thus 18 of them state that the course should be directed towards better preparing for a successful passing of the STANAG 6001 test, e.g. “I consider it necessary to pay special attention to the STANAG 6001 test requirements”, “I suggest studying military terminology more intensively, e.g. military reports and formal papers and statements, that will help at the STANAG test.”
Another 18 state they consider the ALC course to be outdated: “The textbooks are pretty old”, “ALC books content is not enough”, “ALC has boring texts”, “ALC is not the best book”.
The next requirement is also e result of ALC content which lacks enough speaking tasks. That is why some students feel they need more speaking practice (14 trainees).
Despite the fact that ALC is designed for military members, it is still felt to be not enough “military”. Military topics appear in it randomly, in separate units which are not related to the previous or next ones. This is the reason for the students to insist on introducing more military terminology in the syllabus: “It is necessary to pay more attention to military topics”, “More attention should be paid to military abbreviations”, “There are military terms in the programme, but not enough naval terms” (11 students).
A smaller number of students need more listening (8) or grammar exercises (4).
From the statistic results, it can be seen that coping with the STANAG 6001 examination is the main target need for postgraduates since for the majority of them a certain result is a requirement for taking/keeping a job position. Their needs for speaking, listening and writing military English are urgent and justify their high demands on military writing and speaking.
The second question about the personal results achieved during the course was rated by 152 postgraduates as follows:
Another 77 students, who studied before February 2008 (85 %), answered positively, i.e. they achieved the results they had expected from the course, and 14 (15 %) were not completely satisfied by the course results, pointing to mainly personal reasons.
The results show that the practicality of ESP teaching was confirmed by 86% of the students.
On the basis of the questionnaire, it can be concluded that students have a definite target need for communication both professionally and in everyday situations and it is necessary to deliver ESP courses to postgraduates. Most postgraduates desire to improve their abilities in English listening, speaking and writing. The teaching materials of military ESP courses are practical and have raised students’ ability in professional communication chiefly in the aspect of reading, but they still need a richer specialized military vocabulary.

APPROACHES TO EFFECTIVE ESP TEACHING AND ESP TEACHER’S ROLES

Specialized vocabulary, not grammar, should be put to the centre of the ESP classroom in order to help learners achieve their goal: to communicate fluently in a job-related real situation in a multinational surrounding.
Experts underline that ESP continues to evolve along several distinct paths, which are related to:

  • an increasing focus on learners, not just on their immediate wants and needs, but also on future wants and needs as well;
  • a move toward negotiated or process orientated syllabi with students actively involved in deciding on the course general goals, content, and pace;
  • a continued focus on individual learning, learner centeredness, and learner autonomy;
  • a move away from ESP course books towards a more eclectic approach to materials, with an emphasis on careful selection of materials to meet learners’ wants and needs;
  • a continued high-emphasis on target situation analysis and needs analysis and, following the course delivery, a more objective approach to evaluation and assessment of the course (Graves 2000).

Most specialists-methodologists view learner-centered learning as a major paradigm shift in ESP teaching (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987; Dudley-Evan & St. John, 1998). Unlike the teacher-centered model in which knowledge is transmitted from teacher to learner, the focus is shifted to the constructive role of the learner, who takes some responsibility for his own learning and can negotiate some aspects of the course design. Thus, the subject matter and course content have relevance for the learners and they feel motivated to become more involved in their learning and often seem to participate more actively in class.
The shift towards a learner-centered approach in ESP teaching raises the question about the shift in ESP teacher’s roles. The description should start with highlighting the fact that “the great majority of ESP teachers have not been trained as such…Many of [the teachers] feel alienated by the subject matter they are expected to teach… The ESP teacher should not become a teacher of the subject matter, but rather an interested student of the subject matter.” (Hutchinson, Waters, pp. 157, 163)
Dudley Evans (quoted by Antony 1997) describes the true ESP teacher as needing to perform five different roles. These are 1) Teacher, 2) Collaborator, 3) Course designer and materials provider, 4) Researcher and 5) Evaluator.
The first role as ‘teacher’ is synonymous with that of the ‘General English’ teacher. The performing of the other four roles is in close relation with collaboration with subject specialists. When team teaching is not possible, the ESP teacher must collaborate more closely with the learners, who will generally be more familiar with the specialized content of materials than the teacher him or herself.
Both ‘General English’ teachers and ESP teachers often have to design courses and provide materials. One of the main controversies in the field of ESP is how specific those materials should be. Many ESP teachers need to develop class materials to meet the specific needs of their students. Here the ESP teachers’ role as ‘researcher’ is especially important, with results leading directly to appropriate materials for the classroom. Authors of teaching materials and teachers should take into account the criteria of learnability and teachability of ESP learning materials.
The final role as ‘evaluator’ deals with assessing the outcomes of both the course and the students’ results and is inseparable part of the learning process.

SELECTING SPECIALIZED VOCABULARY

Some specialists argue that the teaching of a specialized vocabulary is not the responsibility of a ESP teacher (Hutchinson T., A. Waters. 1987). However, others claim that “in certain specific contexts it may be the duty of the ESP teacher to check that learners have understood technical vocabulary appearing as carrier content for an exercise.” (Dudley-Evans, St. John, p. 81). We agree with the latter statement though in our case the difficulty is with specialized military vocabulary. In addition, following the recommendation that “in ESP, English should be presented not as a subject to be learned in isolation from real use, nor as a mechanical skill or habit to be developed. On the contrary, English should be presented in authentic contexts to make the learners acquainted with the particular ways in which the language is used in functions that they will need to perform in their fields of specialty or jobs” (Fiorito). We need to be very careful with selecting and presenting the content paying special attention to the military terminology our students need. In most of the cases, the syllabus that is followed during a course contains enough general military topics and terms respectively. If the teacher decides to introduce supplementary military vocabulary, it should be based on students’ particular professional needs, e.g. specialists from the Navy, Army, or Air Force will need different specialized vocabulary. In addition, it needs to be selected after a consultation with a subject specialist for clarifying the exact meaning of terms and their best translation in Bulgarian.
Another option for adding specialized vocabulary to classes is when students themselves bring texts that they need to understand. “The advantage here is that learners ‘own’ texts are involved and committed to them. These texts may be allotted classtime or self-study time according to whether they represent group or individual needs and interests.” (Dudley-Evans, St. John, p. 99). A good example of such cases is when trainees from language courses from 3rd and 4th Level are asked to prepare presentations on professional military topics they choose. Very often students decide to present a topic which is highly professional and loaded with specialized terminology, e.g. Proteo rescue and salvage ship construction and tasks, Diving operations, Checking a vehicle at a check point, Integrated defense resource management system to name a few. These presentations are accompanied by discussions when the trainee-presenter not only develops his rhetoric skills, but also takes the leading role and explains to his colleagues a certain function, device, operation, etc. named with a specific term that appears in his presentation. The discussion stage is when students together enhance their knowledge of specialized terminology by clarifying the meaning and practicing the terms in a less formal way, yet in a classroom situation and under a teacher’s guidance.

PRESENTING SPECIALIZED VOCABULARY

Having selected the new terminology to be introduced, the next step is presenting it in such a way so that to be understood and memorized easily by the students. The best way for doing this depends on the terms themselves. As Dudley-Evans, St. John (Dudley-Evans, St. John, p.81-82) point out, there are the following possible situations:

  1. In some circumstances a term is cognate with the equivalent term in Bulgarian and does not cause difficulty (e.g. torpedo, frigate, corvette, convoy, escalation, dispersal, sextant, radar, periscope, propeller, etc.) In many cases there is a one-to-one relationship between the terms in English and the learners’ L1, and so it will be enough to translate the term into the L1 after a brief explanation.
  2. If the term is not cognate and is unfamiliar, then it may need to be introduced and explained before the exercise is tackled. The best teaching situation will be when the new term is presented with its definition according to standardized NATO definition, accepted in the NATO Glossary of terms and definitions[5] thus familiarizing the students with the accepted concept of the term, e.g. “decoy ship / Q-shipа ship camouflaged as a non-combatant ship with its armament and other fighting equipment hidden and with special provisions for unmasking its weapons quickly.”
  3. In some situations learners start a new course that is completely new for them. One way is for the language teacher and the subject expert to prepare a glossary of new terms with straightforward explanations of the terms.

In all of the above cases, introduction of the new vocabulary should be inseparable from explaining the word meaning in the context of the real life in a simple and interesting way. As a general rule, vocabulary can be taught inductively (through some process of discovery) or deductively, e.g. by providing a picture: “this is a _________”.


[5] NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (English and French) aap-6-2009.pdf


Verbal techniques of explanation can include, but are not limited to:

  • presenting the new term with its synonym or antonym, e.g. bottom mine – ground min,  replenishment at sea – underway replenishment, attack – counterattack, friendly – hostile.
  • presenting the new term in a scale, e.g. if students knowfriendly – hostile, other steps could be to teach them neutral, unknown,  suspect.
  • matching/labelling – when students match new terms to pictures or to their definition, e.g. (Georgieva, 2005):
    Match the description of the following parts of the rifle to the picture:
  • the open end of a gun where the bullets come out: muzzle
  • the thick end of a weapon: butt
  • the two parts of the aiming device       backsight/ rear sight      foresight/ front sight
  • it can be held without the hands slipping: grip

This technique belongs todiscovery techniques which activate the learner’s previous knowledge of a language and initiate the work with the new vocabulary. Discovery techniques demand the autonomous students with higher knowledge of English.
In addition to the suggested by ESP specialists general methods of presenting the new vocabulary, I suggest some more types of useful ways for introducing specialized terminology.
1) The easiest way is by visualizing whenever possible the new term. With the military terminology this could be done in two ways:
– by a picture, photograph, flashcards, drawing, or diagram, e.g.:
lifebuoy lifejacket anchor helm
– by the symbol which replaces a given military term and is familiar to the trainees, since it is used in military maps, e.g.:
minelayer cruiser nuclear submarine
2) Another possible approach for introducing new terminology is by presenting terms in a systematic way (See Georgieva 2007 for details). This approach requires coordinated efforts of lots of specialists (both subject specialists and linguists) in order to collect, present and analyze the system relations between the main concepts, respectively terms, of English military terminology. Moreover, this approach requires language items to be classified not on the basis of their overt formal properties, as, for example, in an alphabetical order, but according to the properties of the concepts to which they refer. One of the possible ways of applying systematic approach is by representing ‘whole-part’ relationships between terms and indicating the connections between concepts consisting of more than one part and their constituent parts. Partitive relationships can be represented by trees, e.g.:

gun
barrel
muzzle
chamber
trigger
magazine

Classificatory systematicity deals with generic relationship which establishes hierarchical order and “identifies concepts as belonging to the same category in which there is a broader (generic) concept which is said to be superordinate to the narrower (specific) subordinate concept or concepts… Subordinate concepts contain all the characteristics of the superordinate concept as well as at least one differentiating characteristic. The generic relationship entails both a vertical and horizontal relationship, and can also have several layers which can be represented by a tree structure” (Sager 1990, p. 30). For example, when introducing the terms for different types of naval mines, it is convenient to indicate the criterion, by which a subordinate concept is distinguished from the superordinate concept, e.g.: according to the method of actuation naval mines are contact and target-influence; according to the position the are floating/moored, bottom/ground and drifting; according to the depth of mine-laying they are shallow water and deep sea, etc. This kind of subdivision of a concept made on the basis of a particular characteristic is called a facetted classification.

naval/ sea  mine
Method of actuation
Position
Depth
Contact
Target influence
Floating/Moored
Bottom/ground
Drifting
Shallow water
Deep-sea
Control
Controled
Independent

The choice of one of the above mentioned methods of presenting terms will depend on students’ level and interests, as well as on the context (terminologically loaded or of a general nature) in which terms to be studied and memorized appear. With beginner-level students it is advisable to use as many visuals as possible, so that to reduce explanations. On the contrary, with intermediate to advance students it will be beneficiary for them to receive a more complete picture of a set of terms presented as a system with hierarchical relations between them. In both cases a glossary of the new terms (with either translations or NATO definitions/explanations) should be included in the syllabus.

PRACTICING NEW TERMS

In order to ensure not only learning, but also remembering the new vocabulary and its transfer to the long-term memory and turning the passive/receptive knowledge of vocabulary into a productive usage, lots of various activities need to be incorporated in the studying process.
The main types of activities, proved to be practical and useful, are as follows (Sasson; examples are taken from English for the Military textbook):
1) Matching exercises:
– matching the word to its definition (p. 26, Ex. 7B; p. 32, Ex. 3 ; p. 54, Ex. 5B; p. 130, Ex. 4, etc.), e.g.:
p. 102, Ex. 3 B Match the type of attack to its definition.
1. ambush                        a. taking control of another country
2. assault                          b. a brief unimportant fight
3. invasion                       c. an attack on a place by keeping an army round it and
stopping anyone from getting in or out
4. raid                              d. a surprise attack
5. siege                            e. a sudden secret attack by a small group
6. skirmish                       f. a strong attack
– matching the term in English with its Bulgarian equivalent (e.g.: p. 10, Ex. 3 B, etc.), e.g.:
p. 23, Ex. 4 Match the word combinations with commander in A with their Bulgarian equivalents in B
1. assistant commander                                           a. непосредствен началник
2. commander-in-chief                                            b. командващ флота
3. deputy commander                                              c. строеви командир
4. fleet commander                                                  d. помощник командир
5. immediate commander                                         e. главнокомандващ, командващ
6. major commander                                                f. заместник командир
7. tactical commander                                              g. старши командир
– opposites/synonyms (e.g. p. 37, Ex. 1 D, p. 103, Ex. 6, etc.)
– term to the picture/symbol/diagram/abbreviation (p. 15, Ex. 4; p. 27 , Ex. 8; p. 31, Ex. 2; p. 45, Ex. 3, etc.)
– collocations (two terms that go together) (p. 117, Ex. 5; p. 156, Ex. 2, etc.) e.g.:
p. 117, Ex. 5 Match the compound words beginning with ship- to their definition.

1. board a. sailors who are sailing on the same ship
2. load b. tidy, clean and neat
3. mates c. the loss or destruction of a ship at sea
Ship 4. owner d. the goods and passengers a ship can carry
5. shape e. where ships are built or repaired
6. wreck f. happening on a ship
7. yard g. a person who owns the ship

2) True/false exercises (e.g. p. 36, Ex. 3 B; p. 152, Ex. 8, etc.)
3) Categorization of words (also called sorting, i.e. putting the lexical items into different categories), e.g:
p. 115, Ex. 2 Distribute the following terms into the following categories: types of ships, armament, tasks, ship design characteristics)
4) Multiple choice (p. 39, Ex. 6; p. 78, Ex. 3; p. 49, Ex. 1, etc.), e.g.:
p. 103, Ex. 5 Choose the correct word.
1. to give oneself up to the enemy
a/ to suppress  b/ to surrender  c/ to step off
2. to set free from a tyrant or conqueror
a/ to liberate   b/ to relieve  c/ to surrender
3. to stop the siege
a/ to carry out  b/ to expose c/ to relieve
4. to take control over land
a/ to land  b/ to annex   c/ invade
5. to capture quickly or very forcefully
a/ to invade b/ to occupy  c/ to seize
6. to get by fighting
a/ to capture   b/ to give in   c/ to subvert
5) Answering questions (e.g.:  p. 10, Ex. 3 C; p. 45, Ex. 4; p. 133, Ex. 5A, etc.)
6) Completion tasks, often called gap-filling exercises, used not only in practice but also in revision stages.  They are:
open gap-fills (p. 64, Ex. 4; p. 78, Ex. 4, etc.) e.g.:
p. 78, Ex. 3 Read the text and fill in the missing words.
One of the main aspects of military (1)___________ is the salute. It is a (2)___________ of respect and a sign of comradeship among service (3)____________ .
The words of General John J. Pershing, commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I indicates the (4) ____________ of saluting. “Send me who can shoot and salute,” he demanded.
No one can confirm exactly where the salute began, but for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, the (5) _________ hand (or “weapon hand”) has been raised as a greeting of friendship and knights raised their visors to friends for the purpose of identification. It became the (6) ___________ to approach each other with raised (7) __________, palm to the front, showing that there was no concealed (8) ___________.
closed gap-fills (multiple choice activities), (p. 24, Ex. 6 B; p. 27, Ex. 9, etc.), e.g.:
p. 103, Ex. 7 Fill in the blanks with the following words: campaign, losses, victory, casualty, surrender, cease fire, triumph, defeat, conquest.

  1. They suffered heavy ___________ in the last battle.
  2. If Napoleon’s __________ at Austerlitz was the high-point of his military career, his ____________ to take Moscow was a failure leading to the ____________ at Waterloo, which was his end.
  3. Her son is a ____________ of the Vietnam war: he lost his both legs.
  4. The German unconditional _____________ was accepted by the Allied Powers.
  5. The Norman ___________ of Britain began in 1066.
  6. The commanders agreed on a/n _____________ for a period of five hours to allow the removal of the wounded.

– crosswords (p. 39, Ex. 7; p. 80, Ex. 9, etc.) e.g.:
7) Creation tasks – the students use the new terms in a sentence or a story, in writing, speaking or both forms. (p. 116, Ex. 4; p. 122, Ex. 11; p. 173, Ex. 5) e.g.:
p. 172, Ex. 4 Look at the diagram below and use the information you have learned so far from this unit to comment on it.
THE PLACE OF CIMIC IN THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT

CONCLUSIONS

All of the above analyses prove that effective teaching of terms in ESP lessons is a sphere in English teaching which needs special attention since it develops students’ abilities required for successful communication in occupational settings. Facilitation of this process goes hand in hand with the understanding of what ESP actually represents and what various roles ESP practitioners need to adopt in order to ensure success of the ESP teaching. Successful learning is possible only when terms “are not taught as a subject separated from the students’ real world (or wishes); instead, it is integrated into a subject matter area important to the learners.” (Fiorito)
Problems of selecting, presenting and practicing terms need to be dealt with the help of both subject specialists and students; the latter feel much more motivated when they become the active side in the process and can contribute to the lesson with their professional knowledge in their  L1, thus improving their specialized English as well.

References:

  1. Anthony, L. 1997: Defining English for specific purposes and the role of the ESPpractitioner.Retrieved 6.04.2010 from http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/abstracts/Aizukiyo97.pdf
  2. Anthony L. English for Specific Purposes: What does it mean? Why is it different? Retrieved 6.04.2010 http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/abstracts/ESParticle.html
  3. Dudley-Evans T., M. St John. 1998: Developments in ESP. A Multi-disciplinary Approach. Cambridge University Press.
  4. Fiorito L.:  Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Retrieved 6.04.2010 http://www.usingenglish.com/teachers/articles/teaching-english-for-specific-purposes-esp.html
  5. Georgieva V. 2005: English for the Military textbook, Military Publishing House, Sofia.
  6. Georgieva V. 2007: Systematization of Military Terminology: Mission (Im)Possible?,  Foreign Language Competence as an Integral Component of a University Graduate Profile, University of Defence, Brno, ISBN 978-80-7231-261-0, pp. 85-104
  7. Graves K., 2000: Designing Language Courses: A guide for teachers. Heinle & Heinle.
  8. Hutchinson T., A. Waters. 1987: English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge University Press.
  9. Sager, J. A 1990: Practical Course in Terminology Processing. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/ Philadelphia
  10. Sasson D.2007: How to Teach ELLs Vocabulary Motivating Students to Learn New Words in the ESL Classroom. Retrieved 20.04.2010 http://esllanguageschools.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_teach_vocabulary
  11. Стратегия за развитие на системата за обучение и контрол по английски език за периода 2006-2010 г. http://www.md.government.bg/bg/documents/koncepcii/str_eng_lang.pdf

Teaching vocational English: a two-way challenge

Written by: Tatyana Kindzhakova, “Vladimir Komarov” Vocational School,
e-mail: tatyana_65@mail.bg
Download: Presentation in Adobe .PDF format
About the necessity of adequate growth in both- students and teachers:

  • A miss of effective motivating methods of teaching;

Main purpose of teaching Vocational English:

  • To acquire a system of knowledge for reading, receiving and sending information in English language, that is connected with the main activities in studied speciality and suitable developing communicative skills.

Aims:

  • Acquiring knowledge for foreign language communication in student’s vocational duties;
  • Developing skills to manage an immediate ordinary task at workshop using foreign language communication;

Questions and answers, that teaching Vocational English refers:

  • Where can both- the student and the teacher entertain at the same time?- During the classes at school.
  • Which subject can be a challenge for both- the teacher and the student?- Vocational English.
  • How to make the student to use the knowledge, that he has already got?- As provoke student’s thinking, driving him into a trouble-language situation.

Teacher’s role in teaching Vocational English:

  • The teacher doesn’t create teaching environment but he supports it.

High points:

  • An interest to the vocation;
  • Reaching up a maximum demonstrativeness through the means of  PC Lesson;

Teaching technology- two aspects:
Vocation → Teacher → Vocational English
Vocation → Student → Vocational English

  • Teaching Vocational English through PC Lesson is a challenge that provokes teacher’s professionalism, proficiency and creativity in using new teaching methods.
  • And on the other side it provokes student’s interest, gives him a chance to show his vocational knowledge and an opportunity to improve the language.

Steps:

  • Examination of the recipient;
  • Brainstorming;
  • Monitoring;

Inferences:

  • PC Lesson is a successful method of teaching Vocational English;
  • Dynamic demonstrability of each exercise  attracts the attention of students and enlarge their sense experience and observation;
  • The level of interest to the foreign language is influenced by the level of interest to the vocation;
  • Student’s confidence is positive influenced during the teaching in class, because the student knows how important is his professional knowledge about the successful comprehension of the text;
  • Teaching Vocational English:
    • builds up high motivation in students for learning English Language;
    • presents the connection between the vocation and the foreign language as a finished process;
    • supports the interactivity between the teacher and the students;
    • improve both- teacher and students;

Conclusion:
Vocational English is a two- way challenge, because:

  • it gives the teacher a chance to improve his own teaching abilities, looking for new ways for presenting maximally easy assimilation of Vocational English;
  • it gives the student a chance to improve his personality using immediate transition from vocation to the foreign language learning and also to give students an opportunity to integrate themselves in social life after leaving school;

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.