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Aspects of Task-Based Syllabus Design

The following  Questions are explored in this article: What are tasks? What is the role of a focus on form in language learning tasks? Where do tasks come from? What is the relationship between communicative tasks in the world outside the classroom and pedagogical tasks? What is the relationship between tasks and language focused exercises?

A Test Question gets Grammarian Questioning

One contributor to the American Dialect Society discussion on the issue summed matters up thus: “The high school sophomore who is ready to ponder the ambiguities of a possessive case noun serving as an antecedent does not exist”. That goes for most of us.  This article discusses the ambiguities of the English language and questions that grammarians can ponder and reflect on.

Constructivist Learning

If a student is able to perform in a problem solving situation, a meaningful learning should then occur because he has constructed an interpretation of how things work using preexisting structures. This is the theory behind Constructivism. By creating a personal interpretation of external ideas and experiences, constructivism allows students the ability to understand how ideas can relate to each other and preexisting knowledge (Janet Drapikowski, personal communication). The articles expand on this philosophy.

Controversial Issues in the Classroom

This article discusses ways on how to integrate language teaching with social responsibility and global issues, such as poverty, terorism, sexuality, globalization and environmental change. Teachers should be open and accepting of different opinions, but also should recognise that that their own beliefs might be controversial in the eyes of others and therefore should give “equal time” to a treatment of those issues as well.  In fact, one of the guidelines for dealing with controversial issues in the classroom mentioned was that as teachers, we are responsible for creating an atmosphere of respect for each other’s opinions, beliefs and cultural diversity and all ideas are welcome.

Empowering the Learner

Teachers could then open themselves up to new practices honestly.  Surely they would be more willing to do so when the pressure on them to perform and conform to someone else’s preconceived notions were taken away.   When such pressures are eased, they can spend time on teaching students to be learners rather than just recipients of dispensed knowledge.  When students have learnt to be learners, they too will see the benefits of those activities they now resist.   Only then will they be truly empowered.

Identifying the Characteristics of Language Learners

This article gives a sample questionnaire with three relevant sections in identifying characteristics of language learners:Part One:    Background and previous knowledge;Part Two:    Language learning strategies;Part Three:  Feelings and motivation.

Language Clinic

This paper suggests that the (language) teacher has an important role as learning-physician in the classroom, helping students to identify their cognitive and affective ailments, and suggesting courses of treatment. In view of the destructive potential of modern society, and the humanistic learning goals espoused by official government policy documents, this paper also proposes that the teacher is an agent of social change, and has a responsibility to model society in the classroom, and to promote an ethical learning curriculum in addition to cognitive and affective ones.

Language Learning for the Future

This paper articles explore some of the social and technological changes that  we are predicted to experience into the next century and how these may bear on the practice of language teaching.  These   includes, for example, the increasing effects of so-called "McDonaldisation", processes of 'de-skilling' and 're-skilling', the displacement of national boundaries in favour of 'globalisation' and 'globalisation', and new forms of literacy.

Lazy Language Learning

This article give pragmatic ways of implementing Neuro-Linguistic Programming hereinafter referred to as NLP in language learning and teaching.  If you listen to what people are saying, you’ll discover exactly how they’re processing their thoughts.  Some of us think best in pictures (visual), some of us in sounds (auditory), and some of us like to process our thoughts through our bodies (kinaesthetic: remembering that the kinema showed moving pictures makes this piece of jargon  easy).  Visual people think very fast - they need to keep up with their pictures; while, at the other extreme, kinaesthetic people may take longer to give you an answer.  Have you ever asked a question of a teenager deep in his or her feelings, and got no response?  Next time, wait a bit and you’ll get an answer: it takes time to process thoughts through every muscle.

Practical Ways to Help Anxious Language Learners

This article is discusses the gap between research findings and classroom practice and gives ideas on how to enable teachers to identify the sources and manifestations of their students’ Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA). This text is also aimed at helping teachers to find suitable ways of handling this educational problem within the limits of their classrooms. 


There is no ‘magic formula’ for sustaining motivation in learning.  As the first point in the list of ideas says, we need to experiment and take risks.  The starting point, however, needs to be to try and understand why some students are not motivated and not simply blame them for not being interested.  If we start from the assumption, which I believe is true, that all human beings in the right circumstances are naturally motivated to learn, we need to ask ourselves: where does that motivation go?

Profile of A Successful Language Learner

This article describes a profile of a successful language learner and identify traits that were helpful in the learning process.  Suggestions on different ways of implementing effective classroom activities that will help promote successful language learning are implied at the end of the article

Teaching Vocabulary to Advanced Language Learner

Advanced learners can generally communicate well, having learnt all the basic structures of the language. However, they need to broaden their vocabulary to express themselves more clearly and appropriately in a wide range of situations. This article addresses issues face by advanced learners and suggests ways on how to promote vocabulary expansion among these learners.

Transforming your Students

This article gives sample ways of motivating students, of making language come alive. One way to achieve this is to use a powerful and effective communication tool used by great communicators and leaders through the centuries. What is that Chaucer, Shakespeare, Tolkien, Calvino, Eco, and JK Rowling have in common with Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Einstein, and Mandela? Answer: they all use the tools of metaphor, anecdote and story to explain complex messages in concrete, easy to understand, and highly memorable ways.

Using Self-Assessment in the Classroom

This article outlines the rationale for using self-assessment techniques in language teaching, learning and assessment and presents some practical ideas that illustrate the many developments taking place.

Learner Autonomy

In this study, it will be shown that learner autonomy is a perennial dynamic process amenable to ‘educational interventions’ (Candy, 1991), rather than a static product, a state, which is reached once and for all. Besides, what permeates this study is the belief that ‘in order to help learners to assume greater control over their own learning it is important to help them to become aware of and identify the strategies that they already use or could potentially use’ (Holmes & Ramos, 1991, cited in James & Garrett, 1991: 198). At any rate, individual learners differ in their learning habits, interests, needs, and motivation, and develop varying degrees of independence throughout their lives (Tumposky, 1982).

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