Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Music, Sound and Brainwave Activity: Using Music for English or Foreign Language Learning


Music, Sound and Brainwave Activity
Scientists have discovered that there is a definite relationship between brain wave activity, visual stimulation (light) and auditory or sound input. (Kandel, Schwartz, Jessel 1985) That is to say in part, that sound – in this case music – can be used to alter or control the state of activity in the brain. For the English or foreign language teacher, this means that we can induce a more relaxed, receptive state of input acquisition in our learners using music. Communication between the brain’s millions of nerve cells can be registered by measuring the frequency of these electrical impulses. Researcher Gray Walter discovered in the 1940s brainwave activity tends to mirror visual or auditory frequencies most particularly in the Alpha and Theta brain wave ranges.

To better understand this phenomena and its relationship to learning, first let us look at the four principal frequency ranges of the human brain, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.

The Four Brain Wave Types
Brain wave patterns are determined by the frequency of their oscillations. Each range of brain wave activity can be associated with a particular mental state.

Beta
From 15 to 30 Hertz (oscillations per second is called Hertz) characterizes a brain in the normal, conscious state actively problem-solving, thinking or otherwise consciously involved with your environment. You are in this state right now while you are reading this. (I hope!)

Alpha
From nine to 14 hertz is the Alpha range during which your brain activity is slowed down from the Beta state. You’re calm, relaxed and peaceful. This is also the beginning of the brain’s most creative states just below active consciousness and entry into the brain’s meditative states.

Theta
At four to eight hertz, you have deepened your relaxed, meditative state. Memories from long ago, dreamlike images and fantasy begin to flow in this state. You are almost, but not quite asleep. One of the most extraordinary states of consciousness, it’s also known as the “twilight” sleep you briefly experience upon awakening or just before drifting off into a deep sleep. In the Theta state we can also be receptive to input beyond our normal conscious awareness. It is widely believed that a state of Theta meditation stimulates intuition and activates extra-sensory perception.

Delta
From one to three hertz or oscillations per second, this is normally the slowest of brain wave activity that occurs during a deep, dreamless state of sleep or a very deep state meditation in some cases.

Considering this, when we can induce a more relaxed or receptive state in our learners, they are better able to successfully mentally input, process and retain whatever information, i.e., learning, that we provide. This can well be especially true of language-related input which is seated in the brain’s left hemisphere and cross-linked through the Corpus Callosum to the right hemisphere where music and rhythmic abilities are seated. This essential cross-link dramatically aids in both acquisition and retention.

Application in Teaching and Learning Practice

Try teaching a grammar lesson or segment while playing a soft Mozart selection in the background at a low but recognizable volume. Have the learners practice dialogues with low-volume vocals playing at the same time. Use a song in an unrelated foreign language to “time” a mill or mingle activity. Try having the learners complete a concept-checking or other written exercise while giving them the interval it takes to play musical selection all the way through. Even if they balk at first, they’ll adjust without further complaint within a month of your first using these processes. Within a semester, the learners will be complaining if you DON’T use music with their learning activities.

Using these techniques, the learners’ motivation will rise, overall learning should improve, your English or foreign language learners most likely will be happier and so, my dear pedagogue, will you.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Using Music as a Matrix for English or Foreign Language Learning and Recall


Music to Soothe the “Savage” Learner


“Alex” leaned back in his seat, closed his eyes and let the sounds take him. At times he would hum softly. Other times his head would move in a distinctive rhythmic pattern. No question about it, music was his life. It could also be a way to reach him and teach him English like almost nothing else could.

If you find that most of your learners have a high musical tolerance you’re not alone. Not only that, but did you know that learners can be “programmed”, so to speak, to improve their mental function in a classroom using a musical background environment?

Graphic: The main areas of the brain: brain stem, cerebellum and the four lobes of the cerebral hemisphere: frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe and the occipital lobe (from R.P. Lehr Jr., http://www.neuroskills.com/index.html)

Types of Music
You probably don’t need me to tell you that all music is not created equal. That being the case, there are both “good” and “bad” types of music that can be employed in an EFL or foreign language teaching and learning setting. First, some “positive” music types useful in lowering learner Affective Filters (Krashen-Terrell, 1983).

Classical – a cornucopia f musical selections by the likes of Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, et al can be highly effective when used as background music for learners

Instrumentals – with the obvious exception of heavy percussion, extensive trumpeting or marching music, instrumentals can be highly useful in the language learning classroom

Jazz – no matter how much they might pooh-pooh it at first, carefully selected Jazz instrumentals are not only highly effective, but the learners often like them as well The exclamation, “THAT?S jazz?” is a frequent one in some of my classes. Learners often don’t realize the breadth and range of musical genres outside of their normal listening venues

Foreign Language Vocals – another useful musical background venue is playing background music vocals in a language unknown to the learners. Try using Hindi vocals with European learners or Chinese ones with Latin American learners, Portuguese and French vocals can work well with North American, Asian and other language group learners too

Types to Avoid
However, in addition to music types which have proven to be useful, there are those which may tend at times to work against what you are trying to achieve. Some possibly “negative” music types tend to include:

L1 vocal songs – the last thing you want in most cases, is to use music and songs in the learners’ first language. Why? Because they’ll simply code switch into their L1 without any effort at thinking or functioning in English or the foreign language you’re trying to get them to work in

English vocal songs – if you’re using musical background, songs in English, even if you’re teaching English, may at first be disorienting or confusing. You want to use an Affective Filter lowering matrix, not generate a sing-along

Heavy Metal music, Hard Rock music, Trance – while music of these genres maybe pleasant or interesting to some of the learners, it is often not conducive to a positive learning environment. Not necessarily all of it is so, but a generous amount of screening may be called for to get a series of musical selections that are suitable for your purposes. The effort to screen lyrics and music are frequently not worth the hours I have to spend in advance to do it so I just avoid these genres in favor of easier ones to set up

Reggae, Rap, Hip-Hop, etc. – Again, music from these genres may not help to produce the desired classroom effects with using music as a background matrix for English or foreign language learning. This though, may well depend on where you and your learners are

In the next segment of this theme, we’ll consider some useful requisites for selecting music and genres that will promote foreign language acquisition in the English language learning environment. We’ll examine the use of music and its effects and exactly how music influences the brain functions in language learning and acquisition. Watch for "Music, Sound and Brainwave Activity: Using Music for English or Foreign Language Learning" coming soon.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to Explode Your English Language Teaching Online Presence in Less Than 48 Hours

Instant Exposure to Millions of Web Surfers
Whether you’re selling a product or service, job hunting, exploring or just surfing the net for pleasure, teaching English online, providing foreign language learning content on the internet or other reasons, you can explode your online presence and be seen or known by hundreds of thousands or even millions of persons. It needn’t be a lengthy process to do so either. The very nature of the internet allows for views to me made by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people in a matter of days or hours, in many cases. So how can you ramp up your online exposure forthwith without spending your inheritance in the process? Read on.

The Internet’s Top Five
Essentially, you’ll need to get exposure on the internet’s top five websites. This will almost automatically expose you to views from millions of online views from web surfers worldwide. Once exposed on these sites, in a matter of a few hours, you can be seen and on the lips and minds of literally millions of people. How does that sound? Here are the internet’s top five sites and what they offer.

YouTube
www.youtube.com
The internet’s newest online mega-site player, you can post screen captures and videos here for free. Setting up an account takes only a few minutes. Uploading a video can be done within an hour or so and be available to millions of viewers. You can also link to your video’s individual site using hypertext and back links to speed the viewing process along.
Videos are rapidly snatched up by search engines so your video’s presence will be noted sometimes in a matter of minutes.

Blogger
www.blogger.com
Blogs are all the rage from business and technical to personal thoughts and insights on virtually any topic. The top two are Blogger.com and Wordpress with no-cost Blogger being more widespread at the moment. Again you have the potential for millions of viewers almost instantly and they can come fast and furiously too depending on your blogging topic. Since blogs are picked up quickly by the major search engines too, your exposure can skyrocket in a matter of hours.

My Space
www.myspace.com
Another people-to-people biggie, you can create your own personal site here and post to your heart’s consent on any topic or theme of your choosing. Add photos, graphics and sound clips to round out you space, making it more interactive and you can easily wind up with a winner on your hands. Network like crazy to your other online presence sites and you’ll get checked out by hundreds of views per hour if your topic and theme are hot. Even if they’re not, you’ll still have massive exposure potential.

EBay
www.ebay.com
You’ve heard of the mega-site EBay for sure unless you’ve been living on another planet, the ozone layer or a desert island somewhere. So get yourself a posting here to garner at least a piece of the internet’s millions of viewers and surfers. Be it a product, service or information offer, this is a site you need to be on as part of your web presence explosion process. Payments are managed through PayPal which reaches globally to more than one hundred countries. Now you can offer services and products just as easily in Hanoi, Hong Kong or Hoboken.

Craigslist
www.craigslist.com
The place to advertise globally for free, this vast site allows you to reach potential clients, customers and other interested parties in a global market of your choice. You can hawk your wares and information by continent, country, or city area. Want to become known in Mexico, Malaysia, Madagascar or Mongolia? Then this site is definitely the place for you.

Summary
Yes, you can certainly explode your online presence in 48 hours or less by posting to these top five internet websites with your information, voice, videos, products and services, among other options. Only you can set the limits as to what you can achieve. Think up your campaign and get your posts and materials ready. Then set up your accounts at each of these massive exposure web site mega-sites and then just watch as your online presence soars through the roof.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Using Games to Make Language Learning Interesting, Innovative, and Fun


Games are Useful in Language Learning
We can successfully use games in the language learning classroom to teach and practice numerous skills including:

• Vocabulary
• Spelling
• Grammar and structure
• Idioms and expressions
• Pronunciation
• Listening and speaking



Factors Affecting Choice of Games
What kinds of games we can use will depend on their intended purpose. Whether it’s to introduce a topic, practice a particular skill or aspect, or reinforce previous learning topics games help by providing much-valued practice while effectively lowering the affective filter of the students (Krashen and Terrell, 1993).

Other factors which can impact our choice of games are:

• The number of students
• The size of the classroom
• Classroom environmental aspects
• Length of time
• Materials, realia or aids available


Kinds of Games

We can vary the kinds of games considerably to help our students to make learning interesting, innovative and more fun. Useful and commonly-practiced games available for almost all teaching and learning venues consist of:

• Board games
• TPR and physical movement games
• Inter-active games
• Strategy games
• Online and computer games


Create Good Language Learners
By using a wide variety of language learning games in the EFL or ESL classroom the teacher is able to promote a number of qualities which positively contribute to a lowered affective filter and improved language acquisition. You should include games among your strategies to promote these qualities that make for a good language learner (Rubin, 1975)

• Willing and accurate guessing
• Language related risk-taking
• Uninhibited communication
• Spontaneous language practice
• Self-monitoring of speech
• Attention to language meaning


Where and How
Where you can get an ongoing variety of pre-produced games, how to use them creatively in the EFL or ESL classroom and techniques for creating your own games customized to meet the needs of your students will depend on your learners’ location.
If you'd like some samples to try out on your learners just e-mail me with "ELT game samples" as the subject.

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Call THAT Music?


You Call THAT Music?
Using Music to Teach English as a Foreign or Second Language


You Call THAT Music?

“What are you listening to? I asked a student in a seeming state of euphoria from the sounds being fed into his ear.

“I’m listening to some music.”

“I’d like to hear what you’re listening to”, I remarked.

He hesitatingly passed me the other earphone dangling from his shoulder. I listened, but what assaulted my ear was neither melodic, pleasant or discernable.

“You call THAT music?” I blurted out incredulously.

He laughed a bit, then grinned sheepishly. “You kinda have to get used to it”, he added.

“Kinda”?

There Was a Time
There was a time, I pondered, when in order to be called a singer, you actually had to be able to sing. That is, you needed a good voice and a melodic way of producing lyrics. This required some natural talent, likely some voice training and an extensive amount of practice. Even emotion was conveyed through songs; sadness, joy, concern or worry and regret came through clearly in the singer’s voice.

Nowadays, much of what passes for music relies on high volume background instrumentals overlaid with what sounds like a “vocalist” screaming at the top of their lungs. Either that or “raps” with lyrics that feature a stream of profanity that could make a sailor blush.

Using Songs as an Aid to Teaching and Learning EFL
Let’s consider using songs as an aid to teaching and learning English as a foreign language. The same principles could easily be applied to teaching and learning almost any foreign language as well. For using songs, there are a number of useful possibilities. Some adaptable ones include:

• Illustration and modeling of connected speech aspects
• Pronunciation practice
• Use in lowering the learner’s Affective Filter
• As part of a grammar or other themed lesson plan (holiday, festival, vocabulary, etc.)
• Vocabulary acquisition or reinforcement
• Simply to have a bit of fun in the EFL classroom

What Kind of Music?
Just what kind of music works best in teaching or learning English or other foreign language? That depends on many different factors of course, but certainly songs and lyrics should:

• Be clear and understandable
• NOT contain profanity or objectionable language
• NOT contain or “promote” violence, explicit sex, race hatred, crime or other objectionable themes
• Be a positive influential element on the learners
• Provide some discernable didactic value

One era which is ripe with large numbers of enjoyable songs is the American 1970’s. Music produced by such artists as the following. I’ve also provided some links to audio or video examples so that you can listen for yourself.

• The late Minnie Riperton (pictured above) who was famous for her ability to sing very high notes.
Song: “Inside My Love”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=LJwgffbjjsU

The Isley Brothers
Song: “Footsteps in the Dark”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=dXkP5Bae3xg

The Emotions
Song: “Don’t Ask My Neighbor”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=9u7O1LBFICE

Teddy Pendergrass
Song: “Come Go With Me”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Q8izAflak

Toni Braxton
Song: “Another Sad Love Song”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=LN9R2HB1J68

Isaac Hayes
Song: “Never Can Say Goodbye” also popularized by the Jackson 5
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=P-yKMgG-DRw

Dionne Warwick
Song: “Déjà vu”
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ1NggZ0bM

Not only are these and many songs from this era useful for teaching English as a foreign or second language, but are in themselves, beautiful to listen to. They will certainly provide a soothing alternative to what in many instances passes for “music” in our present era. So listen, enjoy and make use of these and other examples to practice English with you learners. Now these and many other examples from this era are what I call music.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Part 2 Use These Examples to Create Unique Videos That Generate Massive Website Traffic


In the first part of this two-part article series, we began to discuss creating a video or series of videos in order to promote your business products or services in previous articles. The idea is to produce a unique video or series that will pique interest and drive massive traffic to your website, blog or squeeze pages. Here in part two, we’ll continue that theme and add more online examples for you to consider as well. As before, in each category I’ve tried to include two or three examples for variety of theme illustration. The videos listed are from YouTube.com, with others from the Metacafe.com video posting website.

Photo: T. Kobyashi, world hot-dog-eating champ

Let’s Pick Up With Number Six

6. Gross – Try using key words like awful, disgusting, terrible, insane, horrible, perverted and revolting to associate ideas, concepts and situations to your wares, whatever they may be. Look for unusual records in the Guinness Book of Records as shown in these examples.

Lady Popping Her Eyes Out (Guinness Book of Records)
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=HX_5zIXxKEU

Watch Da Big Lady Elephant....Her Name Is in the Guinness Book Of World Records
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=EjQCqRTGRFc

Making Scars with Bubble Gum
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/847434/scars_with_bubblegum/

7. Sexy – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, many people may not like it but sex sells. It likely always has, and likely, it always will to some extent. Companies and campaigns from food, politics to clothing, cars, appliances and schools or even power tools continue to use “sexy” ads and commercials. Why? Because they work, that’s why. But sexy videos need not be risqué, distasteful or x-rated. Take a look at these covertly sexy ones for example.

Chinese Girls – Amazing Contortionists
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=JhL8OncB5CU

Photo Shoot of Riya Sen
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/856501/photo_shoot_riya_sen/

Sexy Korean Commercial
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=pIRwk6lSIyQ

Sexy Korean Commercial for Lemon Tea
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivuu3scBE7Q

Korean Girls Photo Sequence – Useful for Commercials
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=VIRGht3vKzU

Chinese Super Sexy High Quality Song (sung in Chinese)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ7Sn65K2Uw

8. Funny - Who doesn’t love humor? If your video can make people laugh or even just smile, you’ve got a winner on your hands. Think of comic, humorous angles related in some way to your service or product.

Beer Portal
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=m5MK6XElfx4

Funny novelty fishing lures that really catch fish!

Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=KL5F-k64Nr4

Mr. Bean Dancing to an East Indian Song
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=V_bnAlxRGBg

A Really Funny Sports video clip
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/880759/really_funny/

9. Shocking – Could you associate your products and services with any surprising, stunning, stupendous or stupefying experiences, images or situations?

Giant Anaconda Attacks dog
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=0XSNlhWCPJk

Hurray for the Bull
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/872395/hurrah_for_the_bull/

The Most Terrifying Bull Ride
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/926978/the_most_terrifying_bullride/

10. Weird - Use words and phrases like odd, strange, dumb, silly, unusual, and unique to start and continue brain storming sessions to come up with possibilities, situations and ideas for your promotional videos.

World's largest Piranha (world record)
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=zc2NJDqkqPw

Incredible Night Fishing video
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=cDTKCZur1vM

Weirdest Animals on the Planet
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/813073/weirdest_animals_on_the_planet/

Hopefully, you’ve been inspired enough by these examples to come up with your own original video segment ideas to generate massive traffic to your website or blog or squeeze pages. These examples are but a few of the literally hundreds of thousands of videos available online. YouTube.com alone has more than one million vides at the time of this writing. Look around at others. You can Google search additional video websites to generate as much input and as many unique ideas as you can. Soon you too will be producing your own personalized videos to build your niche marketing lists and online profits.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. View my YouTube video playlist at: http://au.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B156E95F69660E9E Do you need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com .

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Day
















It’s the Thanksgiving Holiday Today

In the U.S.A., it’s the Thanksgiving holiday today. The day is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November with an emphasis on home and family. In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Usually in the U.S. there’s a huge dinner served for all the extended family to enjoy together. The first official declaration of a national observance was in York, Pennsylvania (which is my hometown and where Mom still is) on November 1, 1777. The first national Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on Thursday, December 18th of 1777.

Photo: Plaque in downtown York, PA on the first national Thanksgiving

During the American Civil War from1861 to 1865, American President Abraham Lincoln declared the observance of Thanksgiving to be held on the last Thursday of November.

And did you know that today, November 22, 2007, is the 44th anniversary of the assassination of American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963?

But Wait, There’s More
Today also happens to be my Mother’s birthday, and every few years it falls exactly on Thanksgiving Day. You can be sure that I’ll try to call and talk to her later today.

Here in Colombia, South America
Here in Colombia, the holiday isn’t officially celebrated. I still have to work so I’m giving two final exams at the Santiago de Cali University. Later this evening I have an important meeting to attend.

Thanksgiving is the one traditional holiday that I miss by living as an ex-pat English language teaching professional in Colombia. The weather today is sunny and 80 plus degrees – quite typical for much of the year here in the city of Cali.

Although turkey is in fact available here, it’s horrendously expensive, with a large bird costing more than a day’s pay. Other traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner ingredients may or may not be available, like cranberry sauce or even cranberries for that matter.

For those of you with your family enjoying a traditional dinner of roast turkey with cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes, greens, cornbread, with other scrumptious goodies and pumpkin pie for dessert, my jealous best wishes for a memorable day today. And I also wish you many more. And for those of you in other lands who have never experienced a traditional Thanksgiving holiday dinner, well, you just don’t know what you’re missing!


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response. And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Part 1 Use These Examples to Create Unique Videos That Generate Massive Website Traffic


We discussed creating a video or series of videos in order to promote your business products or services in previous articles. The idea is to produce a unique video or series that will pique interest and drive massive traffic to your website, blog or squeeze pages. Here we’ll continue that theme and add some online examples for you to consider as well. In each category I’ve tried to include two or three examples for variety of theme illustration. Some videos listed are on YouTube.com, but others are on Metacafe.com.

The Ten Best Video Types With Examples

1. Instructional - Directly related to demonstrative types of videos, instructional videos are designed to teach the viewer how to do something, learn and perform a skill or accomplish a specific result. Literally thousands of these types of videos are all over not only YouTube.com, but other personal video posting websites like Metacafe.com too. Have a peek at these unique examples.

"Black guy Teaches How to Pronounce Words Like Ask"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=nlWOu9FHm-I

"Create Teeny Tiny Solar Insect Robots"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=YzFCA-xUc8w

"Boiled Egg Peeling Trick"
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/930150/peeling_egg_trick/

2. Interesting - Again, try for relevant, but little-known, facts or stories related to your products and services. How about world, country or even state records that might be somehow related? Look for unusual or unique statistics or facts that you could parlay into a slick video segment. Try different slants and takes on the same or similar themes. Keep in mind that if you find it to be of interest, unusual or unique in some way, so will many of your potential customers. Here are two online video examples to get you started.

"Hungry Bullhead Catfish Being Fed"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=67c_4YZLc04

"A Talking Cockatiel"
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=DsyAZYYB2ig

3. Inspirational - Look for personal stories of inspiration that might be somehow related to your business offerings. Don’t forget animal stories and anecdotes as well. Consider these compelling online videos as inspirational examples.

"Free Hugs Campaign"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

"Working with Children"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=QwDjA4tqtGY

4. Demonstration – For these types of videos you should show features and benefits, focusing on benefits to future customers or clients and people will literally flock to your website for more information and purchases. Show demos of different people, young and old, using your products. Make them practical. Make them kooky. Make them different and make them memorable. Here are a couple of good examples.

"How to Make Small Batch Strawberry Jam"
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=jaPpxWlyrfw

“How Turn Soda Can Into Popcorn Machine” video online at: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/921777/how_turn_soda_can_into_popcorn_machine/

"How to Make Photos Talk"
Link: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/920976/how_to_make_photos_talk/

5. Personal - Find a way to “personalize” your videos to a specific client or customer type, as if speaking directly to them, you’ll almost certainly be very successful with your marketing video efforts. Are your prospective customers youth-oriented? Are they nature lovers, cooking enthusiasts or sports fanatics? Prepare your videos accordingly for your best chances of success.

Like insects? Check this video out!
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=iDw5P46VCe4

Direct Art Australia - Unique and Personalized Gift Ideas
Link: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=rf4y4gFlUrc


Hopefully, you’ll be inspired enough by this series of examples to come up with your own original video segment ideas to generate massive traffic to your website, blog or squeeze pages. These examples are but a few of the hundreds of thousands of videos available online. In part two of this two-part series, we’ll look at some additional online video examples. See you then.

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. View my YouTube video playlist at: http://au.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B156E95F69660E9E Do you need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Have Harrison Ford to Help to Improve Your English Language Speaking Fluency


FRANTIC
This 1991 film stars Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley as a doctor and his wife who are visiting Paris for a medical convention when she suddenly disappears. The desperate husband, who doesn’t speak any French, eventually goes to the Blue Parrot Disco in his search for his missing wife but meets a smooth-talking drug dealer instead. The accents, idioms, expressions, slang, setting and dialogue in this scene are absolutely great. I have a comprehension worksheet I use with learners just for this eight-minute clip from this film. If you have access to this movie just e-mail me and I'll send a copy of the worksheet to you.

Using Popular Films to Improve Speaking Skills
During the course of my 15 plus years of English as a foreign language teaching, I have come across a number of popular films which not only aid EFL learners in improving their English language speaking skills, but are enjoyable for them to watch. In each of these films a scene is selected and the dialogue and setting are exploited for cultural, linguistic and connected speech elements. While there actually many such films, I’ll mention five of my English language learners’ favorites in this series of articles.

In the movie “Frantic”, the distinctive cultural differences in the way countries might investigate crimes, solve cases and handle problems is illustrated. Since the main character doesn’t speak the local language, French, he is severely handicapped in his communication attempts.

What strategies could he use to help him communicate with people? If you’re traveling to a foreign country should you study or try to learn some of the local language first? Why or why not? Are the locals sympathetic? How can you support your response from the film? Have you ever seen any mistreatment of foreign visitors? What happened? Have foreign visitors even acted improperly in your culture or country? What are some common problems with foreigner visitors to your area or country? How could the situation be corrected or improved?

Have your learners practice and act out the scene in pairs or small groups. Write in changes to the scene dialogue. Add dialogue to the scene as well. Update the dialogue into more modern or colloquial English language. May the dialogue funnier, more serious or use idioms and expressions common to the area where the EFL learners live.

Create vocabulary lists, puzzles like crosswords or word searches from the key vocabulary in the scene. The extent of possibilities are limited only by the imagination of you and your English or foreign language learners. Above all, have fun! If you're not familiar with this award-winning actor, just check out this short video clip at: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/292511/harrison_ford/

Key Film Elements
While many popular films contain selected scenes which could be used to illustrate cultural, linguistic and connected speech elements, these five have proven to be useful and well-received by a variety of English language learner profiles. If you can get a hold of any or all of them, give them a try and watch your learners’ motivation and English language speaking skills skyrocket.

By the way, let me know how well this works for you. If you have any questions or would like one of the worksheets I use to accompany each of these film scenes, just drop me an e-mail. I’ll be happy to help.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Using Right and Left Brain Activities in English Language Teaching and Learning


In my English language teaching experience I’ve found it to be highly effective to use a multi-modal approach (D. Lazear) combined with multi-media based activities for maximum effect and language acquisition on the part of the learners. I’ve also found it important to develop skills and abilities seated in both hemispheres of the brain. Here is what to consider and how you might approach this.

Theory of Dual Psychology
The theory of Dual Psychology or “Split Brain Theory” as it is sometimes called, states that each of the brain’s two hemispheres operate independently, performing different functions. An inter-connective structure called the Corpus Callosum allows exchange of information and processes between the two hemispheres. Development of the Corpus Callosum is not uniform between men and women. In women, for example, information passes between the two hemispheres via a broad “super highway”. In men however, the path is more like a machete-hacked trail through the jungle, which helps to explain why women are more intuitive and emotional while men tend more to be physical and logical.

Right Brain
Functions which are primarily seated in the right brain hemisphere include:

• Insight
• 3-D three dimensional thinking and concepts
• Art, visuals, images and graphics
• Imagination
• Music
• Control of body’s left side

Left Brain
Functions which are primarily seated in the left brain hemisphere include:

• Number skills
• Written language
• Reasoning
• Spoken language
• Scientific thought
• Control of body’s right side

With an understanding of these split-brain-related aspects we can then prepare a palette of activities that aid in the use and development of both brain hemispheres fostering more balanced overall intellectual development.

Summary
Knowing how the brain functions, how memory works and determining the key strengths, intelligences and learning styles of your learners are important to English and foreign language teaching professionals. It can significantly impact in the preparation of curriculum, lesson planning, use of facilities, resources and the implementation of classroom-based activities or didactics. As such, this is an area of investigation which cannot be persistently ignored. Other didactics, intellectual development and intelligence theory models as well as their application to English and foreign language teaching and learning, such as the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1984), Hermann’s Brain Dominance Indicator (N. Hermann), and the Triune Brain Model (P. MacLean), will be examined in this continuing series. Also, a selection of didactic activities and their application will be discussed in a sequence of upcoming article posts.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why Grammar teaching Should Be Explicit


Implicit Grammar Teaching
Implicit grammar teaching should not be excluded for explicit grammar teaching entirely, however. Some basic features of English language grammar structure are illogical or dissimilar to speakers of other languages and do not readily lend themselves to being well understood, even in context. In cases where features of English grammar are diametrically opposed or in some other way radically different from the manner of expression in the student’s L1, explicit teaching may be required.

Photo: The author making a point in a university EFL class

Aspects of English language grammar that may offer exceptional challenge to EFL students include use of word order, determiners (this, that, these, those, a, an, the), prepositions (in, on, at, by, for, from, of), auxiliaries (do, be, have), conjunctions (but, so, however, therefore, though, although), interrogatives, intensifiers (some, any, few, more, too) and distinctions between modal verbs (can, could, would, should, may, might, must). Phrasal verbs also present considerable difficulty to Spanish speakers learning communicative English.

Student Responses
Some students also are logical or linguistically-biased thinkers who respond well to structured presentation of new material. Logical-Mathematical and Verbal-Linguistic intelligence learners are prime examples of those that would respond well to explicit grammar teaching in many cases.

Based on my English language teaching and on my personal second and third foreign language learning (L2, L3) experience, an exclusive approach using either implicit or explicit methodologies is not as effective as utilizing one or the other of these approaches as required. Although it is essential to teach elements of language and develop communicative abilities in our students, there is no one best way to introduce and provide practice in them. Young learners have more natural facility in acquisition, while adults may benefit substantially from more “formal” language learning. Learning styles and intelligence strengths are also a significant factor.

Sounds and Structure Introduction
There are many generally accepted ways of introducing the sounds, structure and vocabulary of English, including colloquial forms of conversation and the four basic communication skills. Grammar provides for “communicative economy”. Grammar teaching should be implicit, or explicit, as teaching / learning conditions may dictate helping to minimize the student response teachers fear most, “Teacher, I don’t understand.”

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grammar Teaching Should Be Implicit


Strictly Explicit Grammar Study
Strictly explicit grammar study however, and even grammar-focused lessons are often not communicatively based. They can therefore be boring, cumbersome and difficult for students to assimilate. The strict teaching of grammar / structure, except with students of the Logical – Mathematical or Verbal – Linguistic intelligences (H.Gardner, 1988), can be frustrating and highly ineffective. Thus enters Implicit grammar teaching methodologies.

In the early 20th century, Jespersen, like Boas, thought grammar should be studied by examining living speech rather than by analyzing written documents. By providing grammar in context, in an implicit manner, we can expose students to substantial doses of grammar study without alienating them to the learning of English or other foreign language. I also agree with this implicit approach of teaching grammar. The principal manner in which I accomplish this is by teaching short grammar-based sessions immediately followed by additional function-based lessons in which the new grammar / structure is applied in context.

Acquisition vs. Learning
The hypothesis of language-learning researcher Stephen Krashen, pictured above, is that adult language students have two distinct ways of developing skills and knowledge in a second language, acquisition and learning. Acquiring a language is “picking it up”, i.e., developing ability in a language by using it in natural, communicative situations. Learning language differs in that it is “knowing the rules” and having a conscious knowledge of grammar / structure. Adults acquire language, although usually not as easily or as well as children. (Krashen – Terrell, 1984)

Acquisition, however, is the most important means for gaining linguistic skills. A person’s first language (L1) is primarily learned in this way. This manner of developing language skills typically employs implicit grammar teaching and learning.

This does not exclude explicit grammar-teaching entirely, however. Some basic features of English language grammar structure are illogical or highly dissimilar to speakers of other languages and do not readily lend themselves to being well understood, even when presented in context. In cases where features of English grammar are diametrically opposed or in some other way radically different from the manner of expression in the student’s L1, explicit teaching may be required as will be considered further in the following article post of this series.

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How Should Grammar Be Taught?


Based on my 20 years of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teaching experience, the statement “grammar teaching should be implicit, not explicit” could be argued both for and against. Whether to teach grammar as an extracted focus of ELT (English Language Teaching) or more passively as an inductive, integral topic has been the theme of countless debates on the part of institutions, professors, grammarians and language researchers for decades. Grammar is the branch of linguistics dealing with the form and structure of words or morphology, and their interrelation in sentences, called syntax. The study of grammar reveals how language works, an important aspect in both English acquisition and learning.

The Early 20th Century
In the early 20th century grammarians like the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas and the Danish linguist Otto Jespersen began to describe languages and Boas' work formed the basis of various types of American descriptive grammar study. Jespersen's work was the fore-runner of such current approaches to linguistic theory such as Noam Chomsky’s Transformational Generative Grammar.

Chomsky, pictured above, who studied structural linguistics, sought to analyze the syntax of English in a structural grammar. This led him to view grammar as a theory of language structure rather than a description of actual sentences. His idea of grammar is that it is a device for producing the structure, not of a particular language, but of the ability to produce and understand sentences in any and all languages. Since grammar is the means by which we can understand how a language “works”, a definitive study of language grammar is essential to language study.

Strictly Explicit Grammar Teaching
Strictly explicit grammar study however, and even grammar-focused lessons are often not communicatively based. They can therefore be boring, cumbersome and difficult for students to assimilate. The strict teaching of grammar / structure, except with students of the Logical – Mathematical or Verbal – Linguistic multiple intelligences, can be frustrating and highly ineffective.

There are many generally accepted ways of introducing the sounds, structure and vocabulary of English, including colloquial forms of conversation and the four basic communication skills. Grammar provides for “communicative economy”. Grammar teaching should be implicit, or explicit, as teaching / learning conditions may dictate.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Have Whoopi Goldberg Help to Improve Your English Language Speaking Fluency One Scene at a Time


THE COLOR PURPLE
Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar and Oprah Winfrey deliver memorable performances in this 1985 film adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Alice Walker. A scene with the late Adolph Caesar in which a despondent man (Danny Glover) is consoled by his less-than-capable father (Adolph Caesar) who also tries to motivate his slovenly son out of the doldrums is priceless for use in vocabulary acquisition, and multiple verb tense use, among others. My EFL learners often gasp in disbelief at seeing the state of the son’s (Danny Glover) house in this scene.

Using Popular Films to Improve Speaking Skills
During the course of my 15 plus years of English as a foreign language teaching, I have come across a number of popular films which not only aid EFL learners in improving their English language speaking skills, but are enjoyable for them to watch. In each of these films a scene is selected and the dialogue and setting are exploited for cultural, linguistic and connected speech elements. While there actually many, many such films, I’ll detail five of my English language learners’ favorites in this series of articles.

Discussion Points, Questions and Activities
The film, “The Color Purple”, is set in the American rural south. Sub themes of spousal abuse and social conditions of blacks during that era provide extensive basis for discussion, research and discourse on related and comparative cultural aspects. Your English language learners can compare the conditions pictured in the film with current conditions of ethnic or national groups in their country. Suggestions for changes and improvements can be made. How are the clothes, conditions and speech different from what your EFL learners may currently be exposed to? Why might any of these conditions and aspects be different?

Have your learners practice and act out the scene in pairs or small groups. Write in changes to the scene dialogue. Add dialogue to the scene as well. Update the dialogue into more modern or colloquial English language. May the dialogue funnier, more serious or use idioms and expressions common to the area where the EFL learners live.

Create vocabulary lists, puzzles like crosswords or word searches from the key vocabulary in the scene. The extent of possibilities are limited only by the imagination of you and your English or foreign language learners. And above all, remember to have fun!

Key Film Elements
While many popular films contain selected scenes which could be used to illustrate cultural, linguistic and connected speech elements, these five have proven to be useful and well-received by a variety of English language learner profiles. If you can get a hold of any or all of them, give them a try and watch your learners’ motivation and English language speaking skills skyrocket.

By the way, let me know how well this works for you with your English as a foreign language learners. If you have any questions or would like one of the worksheets I use to accompany the film scenes, just drop me a quick e-mail request. I’m always happy to help.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Birds Can Teach You About English Language Learning


What can some of our fine feathered friends teach you about English language learning? Plenty. So let’s briefly look at some of the techniques you can apply in your own English language teaching and learning situations.


Bird Species to Note
A variety of bird species have an innate ability to imitate foreign sounds.

Species include:

• Parrots and Parakeets
• Mynahs
• Mockingbirds
• Cockatiels
• Starlings
• Macaws


This ability includes the imitation of or “mocking” of human speech as well as whistling tunes and making “rude” noises. Surely you’re all familiar with the “Polly want a cracker” speech imitation mode. A former neighbor’s parrot annoyed almost everyone with a recognizable, but naughty whistle it “learned” to give whenever anyone walked by. But do you know exactly how these birds are “taught” to imitate human language?

Stimulus and Reward
One key technique used to train birds and other animals as well, is the “stimulus and reward” method. The other is “time interval repetition”. When combined, birds of several different species can be “trained” t “talk”. That is, they repeat an imprinted sound pattern sequence and are then rewarded with a morsel of food. Sound stimulus and repetition then finally lead to a reward if “performed” by the bird. In the wild, Mockingbirds can imitate the sounds of predators and other bird species like hawks, to trick or scare enemies and rivals away.

The EFL or Foreign Language Learner
So how then, does this impact an EFL or foreign language learner? Simply that by imitating correct or native speaker connected speech patterns a high level of pronunciation and speaking fluency can be achieved. To accomplish this, the learner essentially requires the following:

• A native (or near-native) English or foreign language speaking model

This can be a “live” person or a series of audio or video repeatable recordings. Whether on VHS, BETA video cassettes, CD ROMs or DVDs, the learner must be able to stop and repeat as necessary.

• A manner of receiving any necessary error-correction and fine-tuning of connected or pronunciation elements

This is mostly accomplished through the efforts of an instructor or speech coach whose responsibility is to provide needed demonstration, correction and feedback for the learner’s improvement.

Audio Only?
Although the use of audio cassettes and voice only media are also useful, the process can be more difficult because learners do not have the ability to see the movement and positions of speech-producing organs. Not only are the throat and vocal chords used in speech, but also the lips, teeth, tongue hard and soft palates play important roles. In addition, models can be acquired from online sources in a number of formats. CALL (Computer-Aided Language Learning) author Gavin Dudeney, in his work with web quests and online learning projects advises having a multi-modal approach to English or foreign language learning which includes connected speech and pronunciation aspects.

By applying the techniques of “mimicking” or “shadow Talking” to your English or foreign language learning repertoire, substantial progress in connected speech improvement can be achieved in a relatively short period of time. The technique is referred to as “Shadow talking” or “mimicking” as noted by Australian English language-learning researcher Christopher Dugdale. We’ll have more on the application of these techniques in upcoming article posts.

Note: For an example of a Cockatiel imitating human speech check out this YouTube video at: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=DsyAZYYB2ig


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

English Language Teaching Professionals: Don’t Spend Your Time Abroad on the Toilet!


Getting and Treating "Monteczuma's Revenge"
Walking past the row of vendors cooking meat, sausages, French fries and small yellow potatoes was tempting. Sporting a fedora and a Grand Canyon smile, Charlie Martinez fronted his cart offerings of fresh-squeezed orange juice and fresh-strained carrot juice. We ordered one each. I opted for a fried sausage with some yellow potatoes. The potatoes were fine. “Don’t eat that sausage”, my wife Doris warned. I heeded not - even when I noticed it was slightly undercooked. That night I paid the price. Bathroom trips came every 20 minutes or so. The smell alone could kill. I swallowed Gatorade like an Olympic athlete in training to help prevent my growing dehydration. Finally, in the wee hours we headed for the emergency room. I had Giardiasis.

Giardiasis
Giardia is a microscopic parasite which moves around using a pair of whiskers called flagella and lives in the small intestines. It is a common cause of diarrhea. Symptoms can include yellow, foul-smelling diarrhea with bubbles or froth but without blood or mucus, an uncomfortable, swollen abdomen, and mild cramps with lots of gas. The diarrhea may come and go from day to day. There is usually no fever. One symptom that is fairly specific to Giardiasis is passing stools which stink and are difficult to flush away because they float.

Recommended treatments are fairly straightforward. You could try 24 hours on clear fluids and a bland, fat-free diet with lots of rest before starting antibiotics. Giardia infections can often clear up by themselves. “Flagyl” (metronidazole) 2 grams per day for 3 days or Tinidazole (not available in the USA) are common. The drug Quinacrine (Mepacrine) works well too but can cause some side effects. Do not drink alcohol during treatment or you will feel ill. Competent medical treatment by a physician should always be sought for symptoms of any illness while in any foreign country.

An Unwelcome Guest
Untreated Giardiasis normally does little harm except make you an unwelcome guest and cause some loss of weight. My case was treated with Tetracycline tablets for three days. The organism is transmitted through improper hygiene, especially fecal-oral transmission.

Remember: Always observe proper hygiene – wash your hands before you eat anything. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT eat raw, uncooked or partially-cooked foods. Take NO foods or drinks with ice in them. Be wary of eating garden salads washed with local water. If the water used to clean that lettuce or those tomatoes was bad – Bingo! You’ll have the “Turkey trots” before the evening news airs. Use treated or bottled water only at all times. Hotels in the mid-range and up often can recommend a physician or treatment for minor infirmities while you are abroad. Pricey hotels often have a doctor on call for guests. Before traveling it’s also a good idea to see your doctor for travel medications, recommendations and advice. Protect your health. Protect yourself.

Two widely available, recommendable health references for travelers are:

“Bugs, Bites and Bowels” by Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth
“Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America” by Dirk G. Schroeder

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How to Illustrate Rhythms in Language When Using Music to Enhance English Language Learning


So, you’re back for more of this series, are you? Okay, we’ll continue with how to precisely illustrate the aspect of rhythm in spoken language and connected speech.

Try This
Play the opening rhythm of a song in Spanish, Turkish, Chinese, Arabic or other first language (L1) of your learners. Then play the opening rhythms of a second, then a third song with one of the songs being an English (or other L2) one. Remember now, you don’t want to hear any words or lyrics, only the opening rhythm of the song. Now ask the language learners what language is song number one? Then ask about song number two and finally, song number three? Odds are they’ll have no trouble correctly identifying the language of each song. Why is that? It’s because they, and you, will easily recognize the rhythms that belong to the songs and the languages. You’d never mistake a Salsa song for an British folk ballad, a German or an Arabic one, now would you? You can just bet you wouldn’t. Why so? It’s because of the distinctive rhythms that unmistakably identify each type and genre of song, that’s why.

Photo: Salsa Dancers in Cali, Colombia – the Capitol of Salsa Music

Did You Notice
By the way, did you notice that you (and the learners) could quickly identify the language of the song by hearing ONLY the opening rhythms? That should come as no surprise. We identify music this way all the time. There was, years ago, a TV game show called “Name That Tune” where contestants tried to identify a song by hearing the fewest notes possible from the beginning of the song. Believe it or not, there were people who could correctly identify a song by hearing only the first note or two! It was absolutely amazing! The principle works just as well with the connected speech aspects and rhythms in English and other foreign language learning.

Now you can rest assured that the learners understand the difference between “syllable-stressed” and “accent-stressed” speech and language. Well not technically so, but at least they’ll recognize the difference between the two. English and Spanish are examples of this difference. Which one is which? Ah, YOU tell me!

Finding the Music and Songs You Need
Where oh where can I get the music and song examples that I’ll need to really be effective in using music to enhance my English language learners’ classroom experience? Relax, calm down, chill out – we’ll look at that particular aspect in the next article post of this series.

So, I’ll see you then.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Using Music to Enhance English Language Learning: Practically Speaking


We’ll continue with ways music can be employed in the English language learning classroom, useful activities in EFL or with English language learners. What kinds and genres of music might prove to be helpful and some free (I’ll bet your budget’s tight) sources for music to use in your class room with your language learners, regardless of the ages or profiles.

In General Music Use
First, accustom your learners to the use of music in a variety of ways in the ELL classroom. You could begin with using soft background music at times to help control the learners. After a TPR or other type of activity session, you calm and soften the learners’ mood but putting on a smooth, easy-listening or classical song (like Mozart or Cesaria Evora – pictured here). I use this while re-arranging seating from a previous activity or prior to starting a new one. The learners also know the transition is expected to be finished before the song ends, so after an initial acclimation period near the beginning of the semester, things often go quite smoothly.

Need to Time An Exercise?
Did you know that a song makes a great “timer” for short assignment or activity completion? When having learners complete a written, grammar, vocabulary or practice exercise, I’ll put on a soft instrumental (or jazz vocal) at a relatively low volume. Learners then have until the end of the piece to finish what they’ve been assigned to do. That way, you don’t have to “watch the clock” or be unnecessarily preoccupied with the time, since the song “times” the activity for you. I even have songs of certain lengths, with some for three, four or five minute lengths. Try it. It really works great.

If You’re NOT A Native Speaker
If You’re NOT A Native Speaker, or even if you are for that matter, then you could use songs to illustrate connected speech elements. Try “Hit the Road Jack” by the late Ray Charles when practicing contractions. “When I’m 64” by the Beatles works great for not only numbers but with connected speech liaison illustration too. Besides, the learners always like that one even if they’ve heard it umpteen times. Want to practice a particular consonant or vowel sound? No problem. I’ll bet you’ll have absolutely no trouble at all in finding a song that uses the sounds numerous times. By singing that tune, learners will inadvertently practice what you want them too. It’s especially effective – if you don’t tell them what you’re actually having them do. If they “figure it out”, great. Either way they’ll gladly “practice” by singing an upbeat, lively song that contains the practice elements you want.

Languages, Like Music, Have Rhythms
Languages, like music, have rhythms that distinguish them from one another. One of the biggest problems in connected speech is that learners try to speak English, for example, using the rhythm of their first language (L1). The result, of course, is that they sound “off”.
Exactly why this is so, along with an example of how to precisely illustrate this aspect of spoken language are the first items to be addressed in the next article post of this series.

See you then.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author for a prompt response.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Using Music to Enhance English as a Second or Foreign Language Learning


In a previous article post, I talked about using music, from Mozart to enhance learning. Now, in response to reader comments, I’d like to expound on what areas music helps, and how it could be used with elementary school age children who are English Language Learners. When it comes to using music in TESOL, English as a foreign or second language teaching and learning, there are several viable options that can be applied depending on the purpose of the lesson, the facilities you may have available, your learners’ ages and profiles. Let’s briefly look at the rationale behind using music as a motivational tool in addition to some useful possibilities.

Photo: EFL Teacher Stephen Bradbury “Jazz Toots” in his off hours

Background Music
Have you noticed that music is often used to control or affect our moods while we are in a variety of public and commercial locations? Pay attention next time you’re at the mall, in a medical or dental practicioner’s office or clinic, in a restaurant or eatery, walking through strip malls or shopping districts, in an executive waiting area, in many commercial office settings, in elevators (the origin of elevator music) even “on hold” with a utility service, 800 number or the like. Likely you’ll find yourself almost inadvertently listening to music. This is definitely no accident. Why? Because a multitude of studies has shown that the public can generally be “controlled” or at least influenced to some extent by listening to certain types of music under certain types of circumstances. The company, Muzak, made millions based on this concept.

How Does Music Make You Feel?
Think for a few moments, about how different types music make you feel. When you hear classical, for example, how do you feel? Excited, anxious or relaxed and calmed? How about Rock music? Do you have the urge to relax then? Probably not. When you listen to smooth Jazz, do you “mellow out”? You do, huh? Guess why that’s what’s playing in medical and dental facility waiting areas. Instrumentals frequently have a soothing effect on most listeners too. If you’re in a “fast food” type of eatery that relies on volume sales for profits, you can almost bet that if they play music it will be quick-tempo (“Hurry-up”) beat to subtly aid you in finishing your food in short order. On the other side of the ledger, a strong, throbbing rhythmic beat that drives you to motion and action is the forte of nightclubs and discos worldwide. The louder the music beats (to help in overwhelming competing thoughts and feeling), the more bass and entrancing, the better.

In the Language Learning Classroom
What is it we’d like to convey using music in the English language learning classroom? According to research, one critical purpose of music is to aid in lowering the Affective Filter of language learners. (Krashen-Terrell, 1983) By lowering the learners’ Affective Filter we can actually:

• Encourage input, that is, improve the ease with which new language elements and information are learned or acquired

• Improve motivation and positive self-image

Given two learners with the exact same input or lesson, for instance, the one with the lower affective filter will acquire or learn more according to the Affective Filter Hypothesis mentioned previously. This strongly implies that by exercising some control over the learners’ classroom environment, we can in effect, help them to learn more and learn better.
This can be especially true with young learners. The how and why of this fact are truly fascinating.

In my next article post, we’ll continue with ways music can be employed in the English language learning classroom, useful activities in EFL or with English language learners. What kinds and genres of music might prove to be helpful and some free (I’ll bet your budget’s tight) sources for music to use in your class room with your language learners, regardless of the ages or profiles.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author for a prompt response.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yellow Fever: English Teachers Abroad, Know About and Protect Yourself from This Deadly Disease


If you’re teaching English as a foreign language abroad and you live in, travel to, vacation in or work in a foreign location where Yellow Fever occurs, you absolutely must protect yourself from this deadly disease.

The Symptoms
Scarlet, canary yellow and shimmering blue feathered birds flecked with iridescent green, chirp songs to greet the sunrise as you awake. But you do not notice. Thor’s hammer pounds your head in fury. Your eyes close from the pain. The smell of your breakfast sends waves of queasiness through your rumbling mid-section. The nausea increases as you rise. Your back is a slab of concrete. Again you try getting up and your muscles scream so loudly you move in the slow motion of a special effects film. Your palm burns from the 102 plus degrees F radiating from your forehead as you brush your hair back trying to stimulate yourself to alertness. A trip hammer thunders inside you at 100 to 110 beats per minute where your heart should be.
Good morning. You have Yellow Fever.

You Get Worse
A few days after the sudden onset of symptoms, as you worsen, you’ll become jaundiced and watch as your skin yellows to the point you more resemble a Halloween caricature than a dying person. The destruction of your liver cells results in the accumulation of yellow bile pigments in your skin, giving the disease its name. Your heart will slow to around 50 beats per minute. The rumbling in your stomach is your gastrointestinal tract bleeding. You vomit the characteristic black blood of Yellow Fever. It will become much worse. You don’t have long to suffer though. Death usually occurs between the fourth and eighth day after the onset of the disease.

The Mosquito
As little as three days, but more than likely around two weeks ago you were bitten by a species of an Aëdes aegypti mosquito while you were fishing in a tropical location or vacation spot where the disease occurs. That mosquito was itself infected by sucking the blood of an infected monkey or other infected primate or a sick person. If you are one of the rare cases who recovers, the disease will never recur, one attack providing immunity for life.

Yellow Fever is an untreatable, mosquito-borne disease which is endemic in Central America, some parts of South America and much of sub-Sahara Africa. Along both the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific coasts from Mexico to Panama, Colombia and Ecuador an alert caused by outbreaks of Yellow Fever is currently raging. From November until mid-January nearly a score of deaths from Yellow Fever are usually recorded. Immunization is of extreme importance. There is a good vaccine available which protects you for up to ten years. Many countries require an international vaccination certificate if you are traveling to or from an infected or endemic area because “many parts of the world are inhabited by mosquitoes capable of carrying this devastating disease and no one wants to see it spread beyond its present range”, according to Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth in “Bugs, Bites & Bowels”.

Resources
There is no specific medical treatment for Yellow Fever once it is contracted. Care consists of treating the symptoms of the disease by preventing dehydration and reducing fever. Bed rest is also important states Dirk G. Schroeder, ScD., MPH, in “Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America”. In 1939 the South African physician Max Theiler developed a vaccine that confers immunity to the disease. The vaccine is not recommended for people with a severe allergy to eggs, children under 9 months of age, during pregnancy or in people who are immuno-supressed (e.g. cancer and AIDS sufferers, or people on high dose steroids).

Before traveling, you should discuss your options with a doctor or immunization center. If you are considering fishing or outdoor travel to Southeast Asia, Mexico, Panama, Colombia (or other countries in Central and South America), get vaccinated and carry the yellow health/vaccination records card you will be issued to avoid future problems. Take care. Don’t be a victim.

NOTE: You cannot enter a Yellow Fever area (i.e. Panama, Colombia, Brazil, etc.) without being vaccinated and you MUST show proof of vaccination within the past ten years.


Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author for a prompt response.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Effective Ways to Use the Internet: Playing games and having fun

More on Using the Internet for English
or Foreign Language Learning

Our six ways of effectively using the Internet to learn English or another foreign language continues with suggestion numbers and five and six of six.


Photo: A curved outdoor pedestrian-only plaza leading to the Plaza de Los Martires in chilly Toluca, Mexico

5. Playing games and having fun

Vocabulary is often referred to as the building blocks of language. Knowledge of vocabulary is one aspect that separates the language learning levels. The more vocabulary you know, the more communicative you are. Here are some unique linguistic sites that help build your language as you “play”:

• The http://www.manythings.org/ site offers “interesting things for ESL students” like songs, jokes, quizzes, word games, puzzles, slang and even podcasts to help stimulate English language acquisition.

• The foreign language course site at: http://www.foreignlanguagehome.com/topics/courses/index.htm has activities in 27 languages including Finnish, Mandarin and Quechua.

• At the Transparent Language site you can play games in any one of more than 100 languages from Afrikaans to Farsi or Guarani to Yoruba. And yes, they have Zulu too. Check out all their listings here: http://www.transparent.com/games/

6. So what language tickles your fancy?

While the selection of language courses, tutorials, news feeds, music and other audio – visual materials online is extensive, ALL the world’s 6912 languages simply aren’t available. Sorry. But hundreds of languages are and here’s how to find you’re interested in if it’s online.

• 108 FREE online foreign language courses are posted at: http://www.word2word.com/coursead.html

• The PARLO language website offers courses in English, Spanish, French and Italian at: http://www.parlo.com/parlo21/home/courselist/courselist_en.asp

• The E. L. Easton Language Institute offers 14 languages online from Albanian to Japanese, Latin to Croatian to Russian and Spanish. The site is online at: http://eleaston.com/languages.html

• A plethora of language learning activities for the world wide web are online for practice activities from the University of Hawaii here: http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/lss/lang/nflrc.html

Although the internet may not be the complete answer to all your foreign language learning needs it nonetheless can be a tremendous resource in your efforts to “Habla Español”, “Parlez Francaise”, or “Sprechenze Deutcsh”. The prestige, financial gains, personal satisfaction, envy and opportunities that frequently follow with knowledge of a foreign language are without equal. Why don’t you start today trying out some of these effective ways to use the Internet to learn a language. Be sure to read the companion article posting “Six Quick Tricks for Learning a Language”. By the way, if you do find Cochimi, Cibemba or Kukapa, please let me know – I’m still looking.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost PDF Ebook, "If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know", by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author for a prompt response.