Monday, August 02, 2010

Foreign language education needs revamping



By Sarah Hann - Indiana Daily Student

The full text of this article available online at:
http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=76312


There’s been an increasing emphasis in the past couple of decades on American children learning another language.

My mother had a foreign language requirement in both high school and college, but my father didn’t have one — foreign languages were still considered an elective for him and his classmates.

I’ve had to take one since the first grade. I was never very good at it — actually, I’ve hated every Spanish class I’ve ever taken, all 12 years’ worth. And in that 12 years, I got — well, “nothing” seems too extreme, but I’m far from fluent.

And when I got to college, I continued with Spanish because I’d tested out of part of the requirement.

But I never got an “A” in a language class, finished as quickly as possible and practically threw myself a party when I was finished, so relieved was I that it was over.

Basically, I treated it the same way I treated math classes.

I’m convinced that I’m never going to need high-level math — it’s important to be able to do long division, but I probably won’t ever need to prove the third angle of a triangle.Others might need it, but this journalism and history major will be avoiding math-related jobs.

Foreign languages, however, apply to all majors.

In an age of increasing globalization, the more languages you speak, the better. So foreign language requirements in school, as much as I didn’t like them, can really only help.

In theory.

In practice, 12 years of Spanish means I could help a Spanish-speaking customer pick out and pay for an outfit when I worked in retail, but I’d be lost after about five minutes in Madrid. I just don’t know enough Spanish.

I’ve found that’s the case for a lot of people: They learn enough to survive a class, but that’s it. They can’t apply the material to real life.

So while language requirements are a good thing, there needs to be an increased emphasis on students really learning the language, not just a few vocabulary words and (if they’re lucky) the difference between the preterite and imperfect tenses.

Steps are being taken toward our becoming a more bilingual country.


You can E-mail the article author at: hanns@indiana.edu

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Practical techniques for Early Childhood Development and Stimulation


Methods of Early Childhood Development Stimulation

There are several practical techniques for early childhood stimulation that help to promote intellectual development, physical and mental skills in pre-school children. Almost all methods of sensory or intellectual stimulation employ some type of stimulation based on one or more of the five senses. One of the most effective methods involves stimulation of the visual senses in a variety of ways. Audio or hearing stimulation is also a strong method used during early childhood that can achieve significant results in pre-school aged children.

Early Childhood Development: The Five Senses

Among the theories predominant in intellectual development and learning, the theory of multiple intelligences is one of the most frequently and extensively applied. Parents who want to accelerate or promote mental and sensory development ion their children can always rely on the use of games and playing. For example, using the sense of touch to give the child experience with a variety of textures, or changes in temperature are simple, safe ways to stimulate a child’s sensory experiences. Taste is stimulated by experiencing a range of different flavors. Colors and flashing lights on toys or other play objects are likewise ways of effecting substantial stimulation in early childhood skills and sensory development. Physical stimulation using motion and moving objects including rolling, bouncing, flopping or tumbling toys and objects can also be highly effective.

Early Childhood Development: Audio Stimulation Techniques

Parents and caregivers of young learners can use stimulants such as noise makers to activate audio senses. Nature sounds or environmental sounds recordings played to children are gentle but effective audio input that greatly help with early childhood stimulation. Another frequently used method for neural stimulation includes playing classical music selections in the background while the child is doing other things including during their “nap time”. Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart especially, are classical music composers often used for this purpose. While the music is relaxing, it’s also able to activate multiple areas of a child’s brain. Surprisingly, smooth jazz (vocals) has been found to be an excellent auditory stimulant for young learners in a broad range of situations. New age (Kitaro) music can likewise be an effective stimulant as an aid to early childhood development. In addition, many children love noise makers from banging on empty pots and pans or shaking rattles, tooting whistles and horns to extracting sound from musical instruments of all kinds. It may be nerve-wracking to parents and siblings, but is essential to the child’s development.

Pre-Natal Stimulation in Early Childhood Development

Not only pre-school aged children can benefit from sensory stimulation but forms of pre-natal stimulation can also be effective. Ways to introduce this can include:

• Playing soft, low-volume music through headphones placed 180 degrees apart against the mother’s skin
• Talking or reading to the unborn child
• Gentle massages

Before engaging in any of these or other techniques, parents or care-givers should consult with their obstetrician or pediatrician.

Benefits of Early Childhood Development through Sensory Stimulation

Any of the aforementioned areas can be successfully used as an effective means of early childhood stimulation to promote intellectual and sensory development in pre-school age children. Proving this stimulation allows the brain to develop more extensively and at a faster rate than non-stimulated children. This early childhood stimulation will give the child a developmental advantage over other children of the same age or level in more than 85% of cases. Such early-developed children ultimately do better in school, integrate better with peers, siblings and parents, they also tend to be happier and better adjusted overall according to numerous clinical studies . Teachers at the pre-school and primary school levels also note a higher level of social and educational integration among children who have had some type of early development stimulation.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Learning English as a Foreign Language with Laughter


Laughter, the Best English Language Learning Tool
see full text online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/dec/05/tefl2

When asked, most experienced language teachers will readily admit that they encourage humour and laughter in their classrooms and plan it into their lessons. So what is the role of unplanned and spontaneous humour – moments when the whole class momentarily erupts in laughter before returning to the task at hand?

In the early days of each course, when they meet their class for the first time, language teachers convey many hidden messages through their body language, their overall demeanour and the manner in which they address their students. One clear message (usually implicit) relates to the kind of atmosphere they wish to foster in their classroom.

In order to develop a spirit of informality within their classes such teachers attempt to reduce the social distance between themselves and their students by behaving in friendly and approachable ways. They smilingly encourage students to speak and applaud their efforts, being supportive when errors are made.

They may sometimes demonstrate in a humorous way that they themselves find unfamiliar sounds difficult to pronounce. If they make an error on the board (as most teachers do from time to time) they may make a quick quip to show that they are not embarrassed – and to demonstrate that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process.

When it is appropriate to pull individuals into line, teachers tend to do so firmly but with a light touch, returning to the business of the lesson as quickly as possible. (By disciplining students with humour, teachers reduce the risk of alienating potentially tricky individuals.)

Language learners quickly absorb the message that their teacher welcomes spontaneous laughter within the classroom (provided it is of the supportive 'laughing with' and not of the destructive 'laughing at' kind). Sensing that their teacher has given them permission to laugh, many classes start to relax and to behave in readily responsive ways.

Full text of this article available online at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/dec/05/tefl2

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Practical techniques for Early Childhood Development and Stimulation


Methods of Early Childhood Development Stimulation

There are several practical techniques for early childhood stimulation that help to promote intellectual development, physical and mental skills in pre-school children. Almost all methods of sensory or intellectual stimulation employ some type of stimulation based on one or more of the five senses. One of the most effective methods involves stimulation of the visual senses in a variety of ways. Audio or hearing stimulation is also a strong method used during early childhood that can achieve significant results in pre-school aged children.

Early Childhood Development: The Five Senses

Among the theories predominant in intellectual development and learning, the theory of multiple intelligences is one of the most frequently and extensively applied. Parents who want to accelerate or promote mental and sensory development ion their children can always rely on the use of games and playing. For example, using the sense of touch to give the child experience with a variety of textures, or changes in temperature are simple, safe ways to stimulate a child’s sensory experiences. Taste is stimulated by experiencing a range of different flavors. Colors and flashing lights on toys or other play objects are likewise ways of effecting substantial stimulation in early childhood skills and sensory development. Physical stimulation using motion and moving objects including rolling, bouncing, flopping or tumbling toys and objects can also be highly effective.

Early Childhood Development: Audio Stimulation Techniques

Parents and caregivers of young learners can use stimulants such as noise makers to activate audio senses. Nature sounds or environmental sounds recordings played to children are gentle but effective audio input that greatly help with early childhood stimulation. Another frequently used method for neural stimulation includes playing classical music selections in the background while the child is doing other things including during their “nap time”. Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart especially, are classical music composers often used for this purpose. While the music is relaxing, it’s also able to activate multiple areas of a child’s brain. Surprisingly, smooth jazz (vocals) has been found to be an excellent auditory stimulant for young learners in a broad range of situations. New age (Kitaro) music can likewise be an effective stimulant as an aid to early childhood development. In addition, many children love noise makers from banging on empty pots and pans or shaking rattles, tooting whistles and horns to extracting sound from musical instruments of all kinds. It may be nerve-wracking to parents and siblings, but is essential to the child’s development.

Pre-Natal Stimulation in Early Childhood Development

Not only pre-school aged children can benefit from sensory stimulation but forms of pre-natal stimulation can also be effective. Ways to introduce this can include:

• Playing soft, low-volume music through headphones placed 180 degrees apart against the mother’s skin
• Talking or reading to the unborn child
• Gentle massages

Important Note: Before engaging in any of these or other techniques, parents or care-givers should consult with their obstetrician or pediatrician.

Benefits of Early Childhood Development through Sensory Stimulation

Any of the aforementioned areas can be successfully used as an effective means of early childhood stimulation to promote intellectual and sensory development in pre-school age children. Proving this stimulation allows the brain to develop more extensively and at a faster rate than non-stimulated children. This early childhood stimulation will give the child a developmental advantage over other children of the same age or level in more than 85% of cases. Such early-developed children ultimately do better in school, integrate better with peers, siblings and parents, they also tend to be happier and better adjusted overall according to numerous clinical studies . Teachers at the pre-school and primary school levels also note a higher level of social and educational integration among children who have had some type of early development stimulation.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Language Study Mandatory In Years 6, 7 And 8 in Queensland, Australia


Language Study Mandatory In Years 6, 7 And 8
http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/language-study-mandatory-in-years-6-7-and-8,17333

Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson has reaffirmed the Queensland Government's commitment to the study of languages in years 6, 7 and 8.

Mr Wilson said 90 per cent of Queensland state schools would teach languages in years 6, 7 and 8 by the start of the 2011 school year, with the remainder of schools coming on board in 2012.

"A 21st century education needs to equip young people to participate and engage across an increasingly globalised world," Mr Wilson said.

"The Queensland Government believes that through learning languages our students gain intellectual, social and cultural benefits.

"Learning a language provides them with analytical and communication skills that will enhance their learning in other areas."

Mr Wilson said the languages taught in schools would be determined by the school principal in collaboration with the school community, and in response to student needs.

"Many of our schools currently offer languages in some form or another," he said.

"What we are doing now is ensuring there is consistency of learning across schools and in the key middle years of learning.

"Establishing the study of language in upper primary school provides a strong early foundation in language learning from which students can move forward into secondary school and continue their study in a setting that allows for deeper specialisation.

"Mandatory language study in years 6, 7 and 8 provides a good basis for those who will seek to continue to study languages until the end of high school and beyond."

Mr Wilson said the restoration of languages in the middle years would recognise that Indigenous languages and Auslan (sign-language) were also options for schools for language study.

"Asian languages are also an important option for our schools as a greater cultural understanding and the ability to engage with our regional neighbours in their own language will provide extensive future for individual students and Queensland," he said.

"As the Australian languages curriculum is developed over the next few years, schools will begin using the national curriculum where it is available in the language that is offered in their school.

"The introduction of this national curriculum will provide young people across Australia with an opportunity to learn languages through a consistent and world-class curriculum."

More information about Languages in Queensland state schools can be found at: http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/area/lote/index.html

Minister for Education and Training
The Honourable Geoff Wilson
29/05/2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Talk on the Telephone in English




Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Accented teachers may be better for English language learners


The Washington Post
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/learning/accented-teachers-may-be-bette.html

A new study on how well students learn second languages from teachers with accents suggests that Arizona may be making a mistake by trying to remove heavily accented Hispanic teachers from classrooms filled with Hispanics trying to learn English.

School districts in Arizona are under orders from the state Department of Education to remove teachers who speak English with a very heavy accent (and/or whose speech is ungrammatical) from classrooms with students who are learning to speak English. Officials say they want students who don’t know much English to have teachers who can best model how to speak the language.

I wrote the other day about the difficulties in determining just how deep an accent has to be to be considered a problem, but here’s another side of the issue.

According to a new research study conducted in Israel, students learn a second language better from a teacher who speaks in the same accent as they do.

The study, published in the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, said that students learning from a teacher with the same accent have an easier time understanding the material. They don’t have to spend time trying to understand the English in a different accent.

According to one of the report’s co-authors, Psychology Professor Zohar Eviatar, the concentration a student would have to summon to understand English in a different accent is considerably greater than if the student were a native English speaker.

In Arizona, that would mean that Hispanic kids studying English would learn better from teachers with Spanish accents.

The research, conducted at the University of Haifa, has implications not just for second language acquisition, but for how well students learn new subjects, Eviatar said.

The study was performed by researchers from different backgrounds. Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim is an Israeli Arab with an Arabic accent; Dr. Mark Leikin hails from the former Soviet Union and speaks with a Russian accent; Eviatar is a fluently bilingual Hebrew-English speaker. The team was both personally and professionally curious to know more about the accent effect.

Full text of this article available online at:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/learning/accented-teachers-may-be-bette.html

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Pimsleur Rated Best Language Course to Learn a New Language Fast


Pimsleur Rated Best Language Course to Learn a New Language Fast

http://www.prweb.com/releases/pimsleur-language-course/learn-a-new-language-fast/prweb3950984.htm

Language students consistently rate the Pimsleur language courses higher than most other programs on the market by recent blog and independent studies. The ability to learn a new language fast is greatly increased when Pimsleur is included with your foreign language study. A free downloadable lesson is also available for review.

Is it possible to converse in a new language in as little as 30 days? According to most Pimsleur language course users, it is. Various independent polls and blogs rates the Pimsleur language method one of the best language course programs on the market. Pimsleur-Language recommends that those looking to learn a new language fast should consider the Pimsleur Method of language training, a language course technique that can give users the ability to communicate with native speakers of a language in as little as 30 days, or 15 hours of language lessons.

Pimsleur Language Courses - Learn a New Language Fast

Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed."AudioFile Mag
Developed by linguistic expert Dr. Paul Pimsleur, the Pimsleur Method is an audio based language course that helps students learn a new language using the same method we all learn our first language--by listening.

Because a traditional language course relies on repetition and written work, many people who want to learn a new language fast often consider the Pimsleur method preferable to other methods.

Pimsleur courses do not require any written work. Instead, it is based on four principles that work together to help achieve faster language comprehension and memorization. A Pimsleur language course helps a student to build a Core Vocabulary using audio-based Organic Learning in order to pick up on the correct grammar and accent.

In addition, language students who use Pimsleur courses will maximize their memorization using a method known as Graduated Interval Recall, which tests students on words and phrases they have previously mastered at varying intervals. Finally, Pimsleur's Principle of Anticipation challenges students to rely on their memories of previously mastered material in order to progress in more advanced language lessons.

It's never too late to learn a new language. Language Students who begin a language course today will be in a better position to travel the world or to meet work requirements. Also don’t forget to participate at this year's American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language Expo Event (ACTFL) in Boston, MA November 19-21 where the Pimsleur language course has been featured many times.

Smartsource products offers Pimsleur language courses for more than 40 languages and offers buyers the chance to get a free downloadable Pimsleur lesson in order to hear how simple it is to learn a new language fast using this method. Some language course offerings are Arabic, French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, Portuguese, English, Russian, Japanese, Polish, Hebrew, along with some new offerings such as Urdu, Tagalog, Romanian, and some Native American Languages such as Ojibwe, plus many more.

About Smartsource Products:
Smartsource Products (www.Pimsleur-Language.com) was started to provide people with the ability to learn a new language for fun, for business, or for personal reasons. Because people are traveling far more often than they used to, there is no time to learn a language in the classroom or with a tutor. Smartsource Products offers language course programs that are based on the way the human mind works and the way we all learned our first language, which is by hearing.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Art From the Start


Grade-A ideas

From virtual-reality science instruction to meditation for teachers, these approaches aim to reinvigorate education for all ages.

Full text of this article available at:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2010/05/02/grade_a_ideas/

The current rage in education is STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But creative types are working valiantly to turn STEM into STEAM – with the A standing for the arts. At the Boston Arts Academy, for instance, the arts are infused in every subject. While creative pursuits are often the first to go when budgets are cut, this high school continues to innovate as it engages students through the arts. The ninth grade just wrapped up a unit on African civilization with a multimedia celebration called “Africa Lives.” The students got their hands dirty. And they mastered the material.

“High school shouldn’t be a preparation for life,” says co-headmaster Linda Nathan. “It should be life.”

Nathan is not alone in her belief that the arts foster deep learning. Young Audiences of Massachusetts, a nonprofit that brings artists into schools, is inaugurating an arts integration program at the Salemwood Elementary School in Malden this fall. Visiting artists will help teachers incorporate the arts into the literacy and social studies curriculums. If the pilot program takes off, Young Audiences hopes to make it a model for other Extended Learning Time schools like Salemwood. Explains executive director Diane Michalowski Freedland: “We need to think big.”

Way Beyond Latin Steven Berbeco is a self-described “language nerd” who studied Arabic long before it became fashionable, and he was a pioneer when he began teaching the language at Charlestown High School a few years ago. Today, more and more public and private schools here and nationwide are offering Arabic, and classes at schools in Cambridge, Norwell, and other communities fill up as soon as they are offered.

While the teaching of French and German has decreased in high schools across the country, Arabic is on the rise. The federal government supports Arabic instruction through several grant programs. “They see it as a real necessity for security and diplomacy issues,” says Nancy Rhodes of the Washington-based Center for Applied Linguistics.

But some students also see it as a chance to stand out on college applications. “They want to be special,” says Berbeco. His students get to test their language chops, but they also gain a deeper understanding of other cultures. And being a high school Arabic student has its perks. Just last month, the Palestinian hip-hop band Da Arabian MCs played a concert at Charlestown High.

Making College Stick Today’s mantra about education is that students must be college- or career-ready when they graduate from high school. But nationally, 89 percent of first-generation college students drop out before receiving a diploma. That statistic horrified Dennis Littky, so last fall he and a colleague started College Unbound, a collaboration with Roger Williams University in Providence funded by the Lumina Foundation. Students spend 20 hours a week in an internship and study a curriculum that relates to their work. They live together while sharing chores and ideas.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Schools failing the disability test


REGULARS to Dominic Dimattina's cafe in Malvern East would never guess that its gregarious owner has grappled with comprehension and memory problems throughout his life.

For years this young man has masked his confusion with a broad smile, countering any irritation that might arise at his lack of understanding with a strong work ethic and a friendly demeanour.

Mr Dimattina's parents knew he had a learning difficulty of some kind from an early age. His mother, who had three older children, realised there was something wrong when he did not start speaking until age five. "If I was the eldest, I don't think she would have known there was a problem," he says.

His mother realised that her son had to be taught to express himself and often did not understand what he was told. But, as is often the case, this was not picked up by his teachers in early primary school.

Mr Dimattina's sociable nature helped him to get by for years, but by secondary school it was clear that he was struggling to comprehend the work and what was expected in class. He dropped out of school in year 10, aiming to become a builder's apprentice.

This was not to be. He worked for two builders but became depressed after finding himself unable to cope. "It wasn't the employers' fault," he says. "It was my fault because I couldn't handle the instructions and everything happening at once."
Mr Dimattina has found he can manage running his cafe because he can work in a logical way and the tasks are repetitive. He urges young people who feel defeated by their learning disability not to give up, but instead to find good role models. "It's OK to be you, and there is a future for you out there," he says.

Mandy Brent, the president of SPELD, a not-for-profit organisation providing support for dyslexia and other learning difficulties, attributes Mr Dimattina's success in building his own business to his tenacity and strong support and encouragement from his family. "That was a wonderful outcome," she says.

Many adolescents do not fare so well, dropping out of high school because their dyslexia or learning difficulty has not been identified. Even if it is recognised, the school is often unable to meet the students' needs for a more individualised program and for mentoring. Such students find language learning difficult, whether it is understanding and using spoken language or learning to read, write and spell.
"Language-learning difficulties occur despite the fact that the students are capable in many other areas of learning and life," says Ms Brent, a speech pathologist. "It is largely a result of the way the brain organises, sequences and stores language, and its sounds, word and sentence meanings. Some students cannot remember and understand instructions as well as others. Some students do not know the meaning of as many words as others and struggle to put their ideas on paper."

The full text of this article is available online at:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/schools-failing-the-disability-test-20100430-tyur.html?rand=1272609678713

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Babbel Grows from Website to Comprehensive Language Learning System


Enjoy Learning Languages at Babbel.com


PR Log (Press Release) – Apr 13, 2010

Today the interactive language learning system Babbel (www.babbel.com) presents three new key features that make learning foreign languages easier than ever. Babbel apps for iPhone, created in collaboration with German software company Aspirement, offer convenient learning for on-the-go. Meanwhile, a special desktop program for PC and Mac now individualizes the learner’s routine. Finally, a newly designed interface for Personal Vocabulary allows words to be printed out for study offline. Tailored to fit individual routines, and taking full advantage of current internet technology, Babbel opens up new dimensions for the study of foreign languages.

High Learning Efficiency: Babbel Mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

Anyone can take a few moments on the way to work, in a cafĂ© or during the commercial break to quickly practice some vocabulary: The Babbel Mobile apps in seven languages for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad makes this possible. When traveling, the program is also a great bring-along tutor and can provide the most useful vocabulary and phrases with just one click. Downloading the iPhone apps in any of Babbel’s seven languages – Spanish, French, English, German, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish – is free. Subscribers to the online portal have access to the entire Vocabulary on- and offline. There is also a trial version those who have not yet purchased Babbel.

Every user’s Personal Vocabulary synchronizes automatically. For those interested in the app independently of the online portal, there is the possibility to purchase it for €5.99. This gives the chance to study up to 3000 words and phrases for any one language, as well as access to all features online and off. “With the new iPhone apps, the user can take advantage of short breaks to brush up on vocabulary words and stay present with the language – even with a tight schedule.” says Markus Witte, managing director of Babbel.

Here is a direct link to the App Store download for all Babbel languages: http://www.babbel.com/go/babbel-mobile

Individualized Language Training: “Babbel Refresh” in Beta

Most people do have the time to study foreign language vocabulary, but it’s often easy for them to get distracted or lose momentum. Babbel has developed the new Babbel Refresh to motivate learners. The program reminds the user regularly to review, and allows the personal Vocabulary Trainer to be opened with just one click. Babbel’s Refresher Tool analyzes the learner’s current progress, and calculates what should optimally be reviewed next. The user sets the flexibility of the reminders according to their particular routine.

Babbel subscribers can download Babbel Refresh and install it locally on their computer. Based on the Adobe Air runtime environment, the feature works with both Windows and Mac operating systems.“Babbel is more than just a website,” Witte says. “With this type of independent learning management, Babbel is one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive language learning systems around. The combination of technology, high quality content and innovative teaching methods make Babbel very unique.” Here is a link going directly to the Babbel Refresh download page (requires Adobe Air): http://www.babbel.com/go/babbel-refresh

Newly adapted learning material makes language learning even easier
Content-wise, Babbel has expanded its language learning system to offer more courses and new formats. Starting now, Babbel users can manage their Personal Vocabulary and Refresher Tool with individualized settings. In addition, due to popular demand, the learning system now offers the opportunity to print out Personal Vocabulary.

After the recent addition of Swedish and Brazilian Portuguese, the market entry into Sweden, Brazil and Portugal has just taken effect. Now Babbel offers a total of 42 possible language combinations for more than 700,000 learners from more than 200 countries.

For further information and images go to: http://www.babbel.com/home/about/press

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teach English to Children



Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

9 Fundamental Aspects of Education


Fundamental Aspects of Education

Untold volumes have been spoken and written on the true value and purpose of education. What aspects however, can we as educators really offer to those whose mental, psychological and physical development have been charged to us? In my personal opinion, here are nine fundamental aspects of a basic education and the contribution that we as educators can potentially make in each.

1. Self – confidence

Development of self – confidence in one’s self and one’s abilities is fundamental to human nature. Our value to ourselves and to others stems from our own self-esteem. A fundamental role of the educator is to recognize and develop the strengths and weaknesses of learners under our charge. We help our learners to know themselves.

2. Anxiety management

Stress and anxiety form an ever-growing portion of our lives no matter what stage or level we may occupy at any given moment. Learning to manage our hopes, fears, concerns and other anxieties is fundamental to our mental and physical health. Risk and opportunity management allow us to gage and act on those aspects which most affect our lives.

3. Autonomy

Our ability to effectively function on our own initiatives allows us to take responsibility, control and authority for our actions. It also gives us power to direct our own destiny. Right or wrong, good or bad, autonomy grants us final control over the forces and effects that shape our lives. As educators, we must aid pour learners to find the means to develop autonomy in their education and their personal lives.

4. Acceptance of Rules and Regulations

In any orderly society, its function and success ultimately lies in the regulations and rules it imposes. It also relies heavily on members of society accepting and abiding by those rules and regulations. Without this structure, anarchy and chaos soon result. As educators, we should strive to instill those values in our learners that promote respect for and acceptance of societies rules, regulations, restrictions, prohibitions and limits. Hopefully, as we ourselves do. We all make errors. The wise correct and learn from them as well.

5. Consideration of Others

In the process of growth, development and learning, we must respect and uphold the rights of others. This may be challenging to the extreme at times, but is fundamental to education in a free and open society. Tolerance of those around us, especially those who may be different from us in some way, is the essence of an cultured society no matter where on the planet that culture might be.

6. Working Towards Common Good

The quality of life in a society largely depends on the willingness of its people to contribute individually towards the benefit of the greater number. Self-centered pleasure-seeking might sound good at first glance, but its overall effect soon negates much of its promised benefits. As the members of a society unite in working towards a common good or a common goal, that society will prosper or falter for lack of such cooperative efforts. True educators can instill the value and benefit of cooperative effort into their learners in a variety of ways, means, activities and tasks.

7. Work as Opportunity

What is the purpose of life? All our efforts continually drive us toward a perceived goal, a holy grail, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, fame, fortune or immortality, among other life quests. To view one’s efforts as affecting the path, direction and eventual outcome of our life is a purpose which begins its installation into our hearts and minds at a very early age. Just note the number of successful people who reach a high pinnacle of some type at a relatively early age. Educators can be essential in promoting those aspects into the lives of their learners.

8. True Love and Friendship

To give unselfishly of one’s self, one’s time, energy and resources is a fundamental of true love and a genuine basis of friendship. Educators should strive to instill in their learners that “it is better to give than to receive”. True value often comes not from what we might receive, but rather from what we willingly give to others.

9. Reflection

Reflection on what we are, what we do and the results of our individual and collective efforts in life can result in rich insights into our values and path in our existence. Why? Is the basis of all manner of scientific and insightful discovery. How, why, who, what and where, continually fuel our thoughts, minds, imagination and influence our actions. We may lose some of our childhood curiosity and wonder as we age – or not, but it and our reflections on the events of our everyday lives can offer us much towards our personal development and that of our learners as well.
Which Aspects of Education Do You Consider Fundamental?
No matter whether you agree, disagree or are unconvinced in some way, each of us has educational values which we personally hold as fundamental. Take some time for reflection on just what exactly you think those essential aspects of education truly are. Then act on them.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Monday, March 08, 2010

English Phonetics - Pronunciation Video



Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Teaching English as a Foreign Language with Social Responsibility


Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Are you conserving and recycling water? As EFL, ESL or foreign language teaching professionals we ultimately have a responsibility to our learners, our adopted communities and ourselves as a form of social responsibility. We can quite easily, quickly and responsibly incorporate global, regional and local social issues into our class sessions to provide our language learners with an outlet for their English as a foreign language or other foreign language communicative skills. Pollution, crime, the environment, global warming and terrorism are all available topics of concern regionally and locally worldwide. Take water conservation for example.

It’s Raining But No One’s complaining

It’s raining this morning but no one’s complaining. Why? It’s because our city, Cali, is running out of water. Oh, officials aren’t really completely up in arms yet, neither are the people, however, the signs are all unmistakably there. Water outages occur each week. Water pressure is low and at times what comes out of your tap at home isn’t even fit to water the plants with. Not only is the water “unpleasant” overall, it’s discolored, smells bad and contains sediment I’m not sure I even want to have identified. A couple or so years ago, city water service was interrupted when not one but two – count ’em – two dead bodies were discovered in the city’s water service reservoir. We won’t go into that at this time though.

But back to the rain, folks. Usually the rainy season here is what most people consider to be the Winter, the months of December, January and February. During that time we’ll have moderate to heavy rainfall almost daily, mainly at night. During those months conventional wisdom causes you to constantly carry a collapsible umbrella or risk a sudden drenching at virtually any hour of the day or night. December 2009, January and February of 2010 though were very different. We go practically no rain at all for weeks on end. Gardens withered, ornamental shrubs turned brown or just plain dried up. The grass was gone for all intent and purposes. This is a tropical climate you see, and the weather is warm to hot year round. No rain, no water – a problem for everybody. So when the rains finally came this month, no one complained.

Thousands of Gallons of Water Being Wasted

Walking down the street, I consciously noticed the thousands of gallons of water being wasted. Rain ran in torrents from rooftops. It dribbled in droves from balconies and porches. It flooded gutters and pooled in small ponds where storm drains were clogged with debris. Rain ran in rivers down culverts to nowhere. What a waste, I thought. Just think, if only half or a third of the businesses, schools and institutions and private homes channeled their rain runoff into storage containers, there would hardly be any “water shortage” in this city. The same is quite likely true of many cities worldwide as well.

An Accidental Water Conservation Discovery

It was sort of by accident we truly discovered the value of water conservation and recycling. When we put a plastic barrel under a downspout to collect the rainwater for watering the plants in the yard, it was such a help we soon added a second large covered container in the back. This collected water was used to wash clothes, flush the toilets and do general house cleaning. At first I was absolutely stunned at the quantity of water used to wash, then rinse (twice) a load of clothes. We started collecting the last rinse water from the washing machine to use for cleaning, flushing toilets and mopping. As a matter of fact, the rinse water even already had a little soap still in it contributing even more to our savings. Two more large rain water collection containers were added beneath downspouts in the back of the house, mostly used as “utility” water. Our water and sewer bill plummeted by nearly 70%. Now who in the world is going to complain about that?

The water company, that’s who.

Why is Your Water Usage So Low?

A water company service truck arrived one afternoon without notice.

Why has your water usage suddenly gotten so low?”

They wondered, then asked – and not all that politely either. After showing the two men our rain water collection, recycling and conservation measures, they nodded in agreement that we weren’t doing anything illegal, confirming that the water meter had not been “tampered with” and reluctantly congratulated us on our efforts. Naturally, I related the whole experience to my English as a foreign language learners who soon spread the word. They continue to comment in class on changes that they and their families have made – or not, and what the outcomes have been. Most are realizing some substantial savings which often get funneled into beer and aguardiente consumption. But then that’s another story.

And speaking of stories, what’s yours? Are you conserving and recycling water?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Monday, March 01, 2010

How to Play Chicken with Waves that Can Kill You


How to Play Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves that Can Kill You
Monday Jurubida, Choco

Playing Chicken with Pacific Ocean Waves

For awhile I watched from the beach as Doris played “chicken” with the waves. When there was a lull in the heavy waves, I slipped out of my cap, shoes and T-shirt to slide into the water myself. It was surprising how warm the water was. I have taken many baths in water that was a lot cooler than this and I don’t take cold water baths by a long shot.

The water is really warm”, I said to Doris.

Yeah, isn’t it great?”

I couldn’t believe how warm two sunny days had made the surf.

Heavier Pacific Ocean Waves Begin Rolling in

Higher, heavier waves now began to roll in. We played chicken with them, running to the water’s edge when the waves crested more than about six feet in height.

Don’t go out too far”, my wife warned.

The undertow from the breaking waves told of an outgoing tide. With higher waves, it could easily carry a person out past the breaking point with potentially disastrous results.

A Nealy Fatal Case in Point

Minutes later, barely 20 feet from the waters edge, we turned to see a towering wave of turgid water bearing down on us. In unison, we bolted for the shallows with Doris a couple of steps ahead of me. I high-stepped like a football tight end through a sea of opposing team tacklers to get speed through the waist-deep swell. It was a race to beat the slam of that monstrous wave and its terrible undertow.

I lost.

A Mack truck slammed into my body from behind to send me tumbling helter-skelter in the bubbling brown sea soup. Emerging from the froth to the sounds of Doris’ laughter, I struggled to get upright. But before I could regain my feet, the dreaded undertow began dragging me seaward like a limp rag doll. Doris splashed over grabbing my arm to try to prevent me being swept out further. The undertow started taking both of us. Fighting to break free, we pushed against the receding sands finally getting a foot hold. The sea lost this battle. We dried off deciding to take another dip the next day in calmer waters. Still, it was amazing how warm the Pacific Ocean was with two consecutive sunny days to warm Jurubida’s Bay.

I hope it’s still that warm tomorrow. Unfortunately, the unpredictable sea had yet another surprise waiting for us all the next day. And this time it was much more serious than we could have imagined.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Teach English in Colombia: They Accidently Got Out


A Jurubida, Colombia Salt Water Fishing Day

The Still Sleeping Fishing Village of Jurubida

Dawn broke about 530 am. For the first time in days, it wasn’t pouring rain, unusual for the Choco, the wettest region in the world. Instead a lazy pink glow began growing in the eastern sky above the rainforest behind the still sleeping fishing village of Jurubida on Colombia’s Pacific coast. Almost all the fishermen had long since braved the waves of the incoming tide and headed out into the arms of the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes fishermen like Heriberto, didn’t come back, locked in the sea’s embrace forever. His wife still waits to this day for news that will likely never come. The sea doesn’t like to give up its secrets, you see.

Gliding across the glazed surface of the Jurubida River, I glanced over at the simple houses that lined the shore. They were mostly wood and Cana Brava construction, typical of the region. The materials were relatively cheap, readily available and the most weather-resistant of the regions nearly forty feet of rain annually.

Looking for a Passage through the Waves

My neighbor and local fishing guide, Pepe slid the wooden launch back and forth across the shallows of the incoming waves, left and right, looking for a passage through the waves to the open sea. Pausing the outboard for a few seconds at one point, he then suddenly throttled up, breaking through a low-riding wave front and we were free of the incoming tide’s onslaught. Not more than ten minutes across the blue green waters low swells, we dropped in 40 lb. test mono trolling homemade stainless steel spoons with wire leaders for saw-toothed Sierra. It didn’t take long for the first connection which violently jerked Pepe’s arm backwards, partly spinning him around at the helm. He pulled in the first hit of the day hand-over-hand, swinging the silver cigar-shaped predator into our 16-foot locally-carved wooden launch. Half a dozen fish later the action slowed and we moved on, circling the group of morrows just over two miles off Jurubida’s shoreline. The thousands of sea-going birds that inhabited Morrow Pelau complained noisily at our disturbance flying low across the waters where they themselves fished.

We anchored half an hour later on an undersea plain about 60 feet deep.

Bottom Fishing for Roaming Schools

Lets bottom fish for roaming schools” I suggested.

Pepe reluctantly agreed. Were it up to him, we’d troll the whole outing. But gas prices had shot up and a day of trolling would be a costly one. Better, I thought, to troll between fishing spots, then let my Penn reel do its work. There were actually three of us in the launch, Pepe’s early-twenties son was also along for the Day. Mute from birth, he had a sign language system worked out so almost everyone in the village “understood” him when he “spoke”.

We needed some bait, so we jigged light lines with three dropper hooks twenty feet or so down. Results were immediate and we pulled four inch long baitfish in by twos and threes for the next hour. Then, apparently noticing the commotion, predator schools of Champeta moved in and we were now pulling in edible game fish. Then it got even more fun as Sierra now moved in after the Champeta and baitfish. These tended to be smaller than we normally caught trolling, but were a pan-sized pound or two pounds. We rode out the flurries of action and lulls for more than two additional hours before moving on, trolling to the next couple of spots. Shouted conversations with other fishermen guided us to a large swale of mixed bag predators and other game fish.

My Penn Reel Sings

My Penn reel sang as something different grabbed my scared live baitfish. My rod tip bowed until it nearly touched the water.

What is that?” asked Pepe.

I fought the fish to the surface and Pepe’s son whistled in astonishment. The fat, three-foot long caramel-colored eel surprised me too. Fatter than my forearm, it was in a foul mood to boot.

We have to kill it right away” warned Pepe in his excitement.

Not only was it a line-tangling menace, but the teeth made it far too dangerous to be safely boated without first dispatching the creature with a couple of quick machete blows to serve the spine just behind the head. The cold, emotion-less eyes said nothing of its thoughts or intentions, even after death. I’d no sooner bagged it and re-cast when its even larger mate again set my reel to singing.

Later action on the part of all netted us more than 50 fish, including several beautiful yellow-finned “Bobos”, before we called it an early day and headed back to port. By now it was nearly 11:00 am and the sun was starting to take its toll. It never clouded up all morning and the tropical sun can fry you like a piece of bacon if you’re not careful. By 11:30 were back in Jurubida, fish divided up amongst the three of us and fish-cleaning, for a fresh seafood lunch, was already underway. We had enjoyed yet another successful, typical fishing day in the tropical waters off Colombia’s Pacific coast. The region is one of abundance in its extensive variety of flora, fauna and sea life. I marched triumphantly into the kitchen but was stopped short. They were everywhere.

They Were Everywhere

Mud-covered legs were scurrying all over the place. Scratching, clawing and climbing over any seeming obstacle.

Where in the heck did all these come from?” I asked my wife Doris. Looking up at me with saddened eyes, she said, “They accidently got out”.

"What accidently got out?, I blurted.

So I went from one episode almost immediately into the next, but that’s another story.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to Refresh and Revitalize Yourself in a Thermal Bath


Paipa Thermal Mineral Water Therapeutic Center


Healing Treatments from Hot Spring Mineral Waters

My shoulder was still killing me. After weeks of therapy sessions with a physical therapist, and injections by a sports medicine specialist physician, my left rotator cuff was still bothering me. My wife Doris strained a muscle in her back from a minor fall and I limped slightly from a bruised right heel. In such a state as we were, the three and a half hour trip from Bogota to Paipa was a no brainer. Why? It’s because of the well-known thermal baths and therapeutic mineral treatment center located in this tiny town in Boyaca.

Pool Hydro-Massage

The first stop in the six-phase, hydro-therapy treatment sequence has you in an algae rich therapeutic pool where two steps occur. One is to have a jet stream of water cascade down on you from above. The thermally warmed powerful flow gives a deep tissue and muscle massage to your head, neck, shoulders, upper back and arms as you position yourself beneath it, There were twelve of us in the pool so we alternated between the overhead cascade and the second stop of the sequence which also takes place in this pool, a hydo-massage jet stream below the surface at navel level or below depending on your height and standing position. This lower, under water powerful stream effectively ripples your lumbar region, kidney area, spinal column muscles, abdomen and gluts.

Jacuzzi

A too short forty minutes later we were beckoned out of the green waters and led to a Jacuzzi room with two pools bubbling to a froth for the third of our six water therapy sessions. The water is quite hot but pleasant to most. Again we split up into two groups. One set gets the Jacuzzis, while the others head for the hydro bubble beds situated next to the Jacuzzis with their neck deep water. The water is pretty hot so you’ll need to go to the cool down shower on one side of the room a couple of times during this session, our therapeutic treatment guide advises. Our treatment schedule allows for twenty minutes here. At the end of this time we are to switch to the next twenty minute phase, the hydro-bubble beds.

Hydro-Bubble Bed

Have you ever been in a Jacuzzi lying down Thus begins our forth therapeutic session. The concave cement hydro bubble bed requires you to lie down, first face up while jets of warm water and bubbles shoot up along your spine, legs, back and shoulders through openings in the pebble surfaced bed. The water here is decided cooler than that of the Jacuzzi although still on the warm side of the temperature scale. I liked the hot Jacuzzi waters better, but am soon lulled into a blissful state by the bubbling streams gently pounding my back from head to toe. Turn over face down for some time too our guides voices cautions during the session. I flip over so my front can also get done, but soon decide I much prefer the effect on my back. A couple of minutes or so later I roll back over face up again and remain so the rest of the session which ends with a time to move to the sauna from our treatment guide.

Sauna

A Thanksgiving turkey must start off feeling like this I think to myself after seating myself on a wood bench at the far end of the wood lined sauna. The wooden slat lined walls are too hot for me to rest my back against at first. Soon, as planned, sweat begins to flow and our group glistens in the dim glow of heated rocks near the front wall of the room. We all fit comfortably enough into the room. One teen girl plays a guess who game with her parents while we sweat out a horde of toxins form our pollution stressed skin and systems. My wife Doris has a tendency towards high blood pressure so she pops out for regular cool off showers in an adjacent room. The cooler outside air is noticeable each time someone opts out of the steaming room. “Is it a politician?” “Is it a singer?” “No” “Is it a famous person?” “Yes.” It’s an athlete the girl coaches, “that should help you some”. It didn’t help me, my brain doesn’t work well at these temperatures, I decide. The game continues with an elderly man joining in. “Is it a Colombian?”, the mother asks. “Yes” “It’s a famous soccer player like Pembele.” Everyone breaks up in laughter. All the adults are well aware that Pembele was a boxer, not a soccer player. But then you knew that too, didn’t you? Doris heads for the cool off shower for the third time and a drink of cool, natural spring water available near each station, while I stick it out in the sauna.

Lodoterapia - Mineral Mud Therapy

For our last session we’ll head for the “lodo” (mud) therapy area states our guide from outside the opened sauna room door. Many of the ladies have been waiting for this one. Mineral-laden mud from the nearby swamp has been prepared as a skin treatment pack. This particular treatment has some distinctive benefits that include:

1. Peeling off of dead skin cells
2. Stimulation of the circulation
3. Providing essential nutrients to the skin
4. Aids in fortifying muscles and skin tone
5. The act of vigorously rubbing on the mud aids in soothing sore muscle areas

Here’s where some more fun begins, Upon entering the mud treatment room we are each given a wooden tray of the rich black mud to spread all over our (or someone else’s) body. So, each of us in turn, sets to work smearing the slick mud onto our skin. Soon we re all the same tribe or a t least we look to be as everyone is now covered with a thick coating of fine textured mud with sandy grains mixed into it to help its dead skin removal properties. I’ve never been so black in my life. Let it dry, then, rinse it off in the shower over there. As the inky colored body mask dries you can feel your skin tightening. When dried, the mud takes on a gray hue. The whole process takes fifteen minutes or so including drying time. Large mirrors are hung on the walls so you can see your smeared self. Most of the ladies actively indulged in this rare type of mud gazing. The aroma wasn’t at all unpleasant and I didn’t taste the mud, especially after seeing the face of one woman who did. Her expression convinced me alright.

Hydro Acupuncture Showers

The showers were another unique point of the hydro therapy treatments. They feature seven multi-stream shower heads which spray you from the front, back and above all at the same time. Hot water came from one side and above while cooler water pummeled your front from chest to knees. Actually the experience was quite pleasant and in a fit of hedonism I asked my wife, is anyone else waiting to get in. Her “No” response meant that I could sneak an extra few minutes in the hydro acupuncture showers as they were called. Man was it great.

The Paipa Thermal Mineral Water Therapeutic Center is open seven days a week from about 6 am to around 9 pm. In addition to their popular hydro therapy treatment the center also offers full or partial body massages and there are three thermal pools adjacent to the therapy center facilities. Whatever ails you, you’ll get relief and a relaxed session to calm your stress and frazzled nerves to aid in the healing process at a thermal spa of your choice, wherever you may live.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Which Foreign Language Should Your Child Learn?


Children NOT Encouraged to Acquire a Foreign Language

While nearly a third of UK parents do not actively encourage their children to acquire a second or foreign language according to a study by the National Centre for Languages (CILT), foreign language learning should be encouraged and developed to a much higher degree in schools worldwide. True, many parents, both in the UK and the USA, may harbour their own personal prejudices on foreign language learning, this should not be allowed to alternatively shape the growth, development and education of their children. Globally aware parents really need to consider the long term view of what their children may well face in the coming decades.

Think about this: How many of you could have predicted doing the job you have right now as recently as ten years ago? Look around your house. How many possessions, digital, electronic or otherwise, could you have named when you were in school? How has your occupation, livelihood and daily life been impacted by changes on an everyday basis which you couldn’t even have dreamed of as a youth, young adult or even just a few short years ago? As a youth, I swore I’d never be a teacher. Now I’m a university level English as a foreign language professor. Go figure.

Which Foreign Language Should Your Child Learn?

But just which foreign language should your child learn? The question is much more complex than you might initially imagine. Just because you bombed French in junior high school doesn’t mean that the only “French” your child should learn is “French fries”. By the way, that’s not even French, either. If “caramba” or “Ole” are your only Spanish, that shouldn’t be the root cause of your child not becoming fluent in Castellano. Unfortunately, all too often this is the case. Your parents, grandparents and perhaps even you may not have had the opportunity for exposure to Chinese in one of its multiple dialects, but don’t automatically as a matter of course, rule it out for your charges. The world has changed and continues to morph at what may well be an alarming rate for many teachers, parents and even children themselves. Acquisition of a foreign language can be one way of allowing our children and ourselves to cope with the almost constant barrage of new cultures, foods, music, fashion, technology and ideas which pour down on us like the rain of a hurricane gone wild.

What’s a foreign language teacher or concerned parent to do?

The ethnic makeup of cities, neighborhoods and in some cases, entire countries is shifting in ways we could never have accurately predicted. The local news stand might now stock newspapers and magazines in foreign tongues. From French and Spanish to Arabic and Punjabi, the media is changing to reflect the altering makeup of our communities. Are you?

Stroll through your local supermarket. Notice anything new on the shelves of late? I certainly do. Even the meat counter now sports “cuts” of beef like cow’s eyes and lungs, pork, lamb and chicken parts like chicken feet among others, that were noticeably absent just a short time ago. The same follows with fruits and vegetables on offer. Plantain, yucca, a widening variety of hot and mild peppers, jicama, mamey, and a host of other “imported” offerings now routinely grace shelves once reserved only for more “traditional” fare.

Foreign Languages Come in Families

So as far as foreign language learning is concerned, what should you be considering for your child or children? Well, look at how the ethnic makeup of your area is changing, then consider what foreign languages might be useful to know in the short and long term. Remember, if you can speak one language fluently, there’s absolutely no reason why you (or your child) can’t learn two or three or more foreign languages. Yes, some foreign languages a re more difficult to learn than others, depending on what your first language is, but that’s not to say a foreign language outside the linguistic family of your first language (L1) can’t be learned. It’ll just take a bit more time and effort to do so. There are approximately 6712 languages spoken worldwide at present. Many are disappearing, but many others are not. Consider well and choose wisely, grasshopper. Your child’s depending on you.


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Using Sherlock Holmes to Teach English as a Foreign Language


Who is Sherlock Holmes?

Who is it that smokes a pipe, uses heroin and has powers of deduction unrivaled by anyone else in the world (among other things)? Why the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes of course.

With the new film of the same name now in theaters worldwide, there is an understandable resurgeance of interest in the exploits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant, albeit eccentric detective and his cohort in crime solving, Dr. Watson. No dazzling special effects. No exotic wizardry. No supernatural powers does Sherlock Holmes have. It’s all a matter of astute observation of even the most minute details and deductive reasoning based on an in depth knowledge of science, chemistry and psychology that give the principal resident of number 221B Baker street his uncanny edge in solving the most perplexing crimes.

English as a Foreign Language Teachers

English as a foreign language teachers worldwide couldn’t be happier about all the renewed hubbub over the renowned detective. Why It’s because now there’s an almost automatic introduction the collected stories written in 1888 and set in a London replete with pea soup fog and coal dust smoke that can bring involuntary tears to your eyes.

A popular role for television and the cinema as well, a number of premiere actors have opted to portray Holmes over the decades. Some have even made a name for themselves in doing so. Starting with the current interpretation of Holmes as portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. there are also such names as the nearly immortal Basil Rathbone known primarily in his career for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Christopher Lee, Michael Caine and even the late Charlton Heston have stepped into the role. British actor Jeremy Brett is also almost exclusively known for his detailed characterizations of the great detective on television.

Sherlock Holmes Has a Nemesis

Of course, every hero must have his nemesis or arch enemy, who is just as quick witted, just as astute and even more dangerous and difficult to catch at his or her dastardly deeds. Sherlock Holmes is certainly no exception, as his alter ego the infamous Dr. Moriarty, will aptly demonstrate. In the current cinematic offering featuring Morton Downey, Jr., Holmes is up against the black arts practicing Count Blackwood and his human sacrificing brethren. The Count, it seems, derives his prowess from a book of demonic spells which alarm even the followers of his cult. Although a departure from the story lines of Doyle’s original stories, nonetheless the storyline details contribute well to the updated version of the mastermind detective.

Sherlock Holmes in the EFL Class Room

So how can English as a foreign language teachers take advantage of the new interest in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes? Well, that’s simple enough. Starting off of course with readings of excerpts, passages and stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, add in any or all of the following activity types

• Dramatizations of key scenes in the stories
• Comprehension questions based on story elements
• Production of detailed reports and essays on Holmes, Doyle et al
• Assemble collections of images, articles and related paraphernalia related to the works
• Construction of a web quest to get learners to dig up more information, facts and images on Sherlock Holmes
• Compile collections of quotations, paraphernalia appearing in the stories or other snippets of interest
• Details on the works of the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Astute English teachers will certainly want to compile their own strategies to capitalize on the learners peaked interest in Sherlock Holmes while the iron is hot. So why not see what both you and your English language learners can come up with perhaps even including a private screening of the film?


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Emergency Drives Thousands to Learn Haitian Creole


Emergency Drives Thousands to Learn Haitian Creole

http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/b111319/emergency-drives-thousands-to-learn-haitian-creole


Transparent Language Inc. announced today the release of free versions of their Haitian Creole language software based on the British Red Cross Emergency phrase list. The language learning company has added the 62 common medical questions and statements from the British Red Cross to its Haitian Creole Byki software. In the hope that these software programs will enable thousands of people to better mobilize and respond to the emergency, Transparent Language has made them all available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Web Browser, all at no charge.

“Relief workers need to be able to communicate with locals” says Michael Quinlan, CEO of Transparent Language. “Byki, combined with the British Red Cross Emergency language list, serves a pressing need among relief workers and illustrates how ordinary people can quickly gain the skills to make an impact.”

This is the most recent step in Transparent Language’s effort to help bridge the language barriers in Haiti. Last week marked their release of a free iPhone app which has been featured in the iTunes App Store’s “What’s Hot” section. Over 21,000 users have already downloaded this FREE app.

Haitian Creole Learning Resources Now Available

Byki Express for Windows & Mac Computers


The entire Byki collection of over 1,500 critical Haitian Creole words and phrases, normally available only in the paid Byki Deluxe Edition, is now available in the Byki Express Edition, which is available at no charge in Windows and Macintosh versions. To download the free enhanced Byki Express software for Haitian Creole, visit Byki.com, choose Haitian Creole from the list of available languages and follow the onscreen instructions. Since the disaster struck, hundreds of people have downloaded the Haitian Creole Byki Express.

Byki Haitian Creole for iPhone

Byki Haitian Creole for iPhone is now available for download at no charge from the iTunes App Store to any iPhone or iPod touch owner. Byki Haitian Creole for iPhone offers users a fast and effective way to learn over 1,500 Haitian Creole words and phrases, including the British Red Cross lists, which are essential for everyday communication. Byki for iPhone’s searchable Phrasebook feature should be of particular value to any iPhone or iPod touch users deploying in the relief effort. It allows users to search in English or in Haitian Creole to quickly find meanings for words and phrases.

Feedback from relief workers supports the real need for language capabilities. As iTunes App Store users have commented:
“I work at a hospital where Haitian quake victims are being flown in for medical attention…this is a huge help.”

“First I want to thank you for making this app free. I downloaded it right before I left for Haiti. I used the app to study while I circled the airport for 3 hours waiting to land and while I was on the ground I used it as a quick reference many times while providing care to earthquake victims. This app is simple and to the point…this app truly made a difference.”

“This app is awesome. I’ve just started using it and I can’t believe how well I’m picking it up! Genius language application!”

Byki Online for Haitian Creole

For online learning, relief workers can access Byki Online for Haitian Creole. Users can learn anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection without installing anything on the computer.

Expanded Haitian Creole Materials for US Military personnel

In a related initiative, Transparent Language has provided Haitian Creole software and learning materials to its Department of Defense customer organizations, and has provided open access for certain resources to all other U.S. Government personnel for the duration of the emergency. DoD personnel can access the Haitian Creole learning materials through Navy Knowledge Online and a number of similar military resource portals.

About the Byki System

Byki, formerly “Before You Know It,” is a 3-Step, rapid language-learning system employing spaced interval repetition. Experts agree that the key to language learning, especially at a beginning level, is to first build a strong lexical foundation – a ready supply of words and phrases locked into one’s working memory. Byki is the fastest, most direct path to that goal. Byki takes users through three simple learning steps to memorize words and phrases in a new language, including their meanings, representation, and proper pronunciation, in the shortest possible time. Millions of people around the world already use Byki, which currently comes in more than 70 languages. Download a free version of Byki.

About Transparent Language, Inc.

Transparent Language is a leading provider of best-practice language-learning software for consumers, educational institutions, government agencies, and businesses. Since 1991, Transparent Language has helped millions of individuals learn new languages quickly, easily, and effectively. Transparent Language’s products are also used in more than 12,000 civilian and government educational institutions, including major universities and government facilities, such as the Defense Language Institute and Foreign Service Institute. Call 800-567-9619 or visit www.transparent.com for more information.

Transparent Language Inc.
Chuck McGonagle, 603-262-6335
CMcGonagle at transparent.com



Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Learning language the Karadi way



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Learning-language-the-Karadi-way/articleshow/5301832.cms

BANGALORE: A new look and thought have been given to Indian education in recent times. And Karadi Tales is seeing major implications in pedagogy here.

On Friday, C P Viswanath, director of Karadi Tales, held a workshop in Bangalore with English-language teachers from various schools on `Science of Language Learning and Karadi Path'.

Viswanath said: "There is an increasing demand for change in education. We haven't worked out a pedagogy, but contextualised everything which can make the current system more beneficial for learners. The Karadi Path is just one way to make learning language entertaining, rather than following a strict curriculum."

If India's approach to Western education had been effective, he replied: "Western education has failed; the approach to learning language is completely wrong. This tragedy has been passed on to schools in India. You never need to learn a language for the purpose of expressing your thoughts for nine years __ one year is enough. Karadi Path involves only one year and that too for children of Classes one to five."

Karadi Path has three modules -- action path, music path and story path. These approaches use the intuitive processes of the brain and there is no assessment or test, which is why children learn the language with ease as if it were their mother tongue.

He also added: "A child picks up his mother tongue easily, and children who grow up in a multilingual environment pick up all local languages, yet schools take pains to teach language for years together. In a majority of English medium schools in Karnataka, students learn all their subjects in English without achieving proficiency in it, which is why even when they know the answer to a science question, they can't give the answer in English."

Viswanath said as a first step to enter schools in Karnataka, they will take up not more than 100 schools.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

9 Ways to Use Recipes for Foreign Language Learning



Ways to Use Recipes for Foreign Language Learning

“What to do?” “What to do?”

English as a foreign language and foreign language teachers are often in a quandary for simple but effective class room activities. You and your foreign language learners have to eat don’t you? Well, to help get you started, briefly here are some useful ways to use recipes for foreign language learning you might want to consider and a brief look at each:

Making a recipe preparation video

If there was ever a great way to incorporate multiple intelligences and application of multi-media into foreign language learning, then this is it. You guide your foreign language learners in preparing a short step-by-step video of preparing a simple recipe.

Creating a recipe poster with images

For a much more low-tech approach, why not consider having your foreign language learners make a poster showing how a simple recipe is prepared. They can include pictures of the preparation process and the finished recipe too.

Narrating a recipe preparation

This is yet another particularly simple-to-apply method for using recipes for foreign language learning. Foreign language learners just narrate the process into a microphone, recording the recipe preparation process as a sound file into a cassette recorder, PC or laptop computer.

Writing out a new recipe in different ways

The foreign language teacher can dictate a simple recipe for the foreign language learners to write down. The finished, corrected version can then be posted in the class room or online. Dictation addresses the foreign language learners’ writing ability as well as their listening comprehension skills.

Shooting digital images of a recipe in preparation

To get a good series of images for preparing a recipe, foreign language learners absolutely must understand the preparation steps and how ingredients are combined. Photographing the recipe preparation process will help organize the steps and process in their minds as well as provide them with picture image “manipulatives” or realia they can physically handle or manipulate during the organization process.

Focusing on the use of a particular ingredient in the preparation of different recipes

Take a commonly used ingredient like onions or tomatoes and ask your foreign language learners about other recipes which use that particular ingredient. Can you make juice, pastries or desserts with it? How about soup or salad?

Preparation of simple, basic recipes in class

Foreign language learners just love this one. You have them select and prepare a very simple, basic recipe in class while explaining the process aloud. The recipe need not be anything fancy or special – just edible.

Having English language learners bring prepared dishes to class and explain their ingredients and preparation

This is yet another variation on simple recipe preparation. Foreign language learners being basic ingredients to class, then prepare their offering for all to sample. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, hot dogs or a cookie sandwich hors d’oeuvres will do the trick nicely.

Posting videos, narrations and written recipes online

Another concept which might be considered or included is to post the foreign language learners’ recipes online. It could be on the school blog, in the school newspaper or as an article posting online at any of the hundreds of free article banks online. You choose, but choose wisely, grasshopper.

Ways to Use Recipes for Foreign Language Learning

So there you have it, nine ways to use recipes and their ingredients for English as a foreign language or other foreign language learning. Why not choose one or two and put them to the best use in your foreign language learning class room soon?


Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.