Business and ManagementEnglish Language Training

Approach towards Promoting English in Nicaragua

by Raul Amador

Nicaragua needs to embark into the Global Markets. For this reason, there should be an approach towards the promotion of competitive advantages that allow us to offer world quality competitive services to the global market.

An example of competitive advantage is the agricultural sector; its competitive advantages are that we have cheap labor force and cheap land. Therefore, we can add assets, technology, and genetics so as to obtain highly competitive worldwide products such as sugar, peanuts, or irrigated rice. Hence, we link all our products to the global market.

In Nicaragua, the coffee industry took 120 years to evolve and produce an estimate of 2 million quintals and an average of US$250-280 million dollars in exports. It offers employment to 250 thousand people and pays US$60 million in salaries. Nevertheless, this is an example of an inefficient structure of the exporting system since it was built in 120 years.

The limitations we have in Nicaragua refer to social inequity, poverty, and poor educational development. If we do not make changes to the system and create good practices that contribute to the development of the markets we will continue in poverty. Technology and globalization are two wealth factors that contribute to resolve social divisions, social inequity and bring wealth to the country. So, we have to take advantage of this wealth and create conditions for new competitive advantages to emerge.

Now, we have to emulate the agricultural industry with the outsourcing industry and all services in English. We need to add competitive advantage to Nicaragua through the development of English speakers. We will add competitive advantage by resolving the bottle neck that currently exists in terms of limited labor force that speaks English; English speakers who lack specialized training in Informational Technology, Tourism, and Call Center; and active labor force, speakers of English who do not meet international standards, due to poor educational background.

At first Nicaragua’s competitive advantage was a group of young people who spoke perfect English, an infrastructure cheaper than Costa Rica or Panama, and a Free Trade Zone law. All these features linked to the great wealth of globalization and technology contributed to a competitive advantage for investors to come to invest in Nicaragua, especially in outsourcing. Yet, we are running out of labor force. If we do not create a system with new advantages, and continue this trend, our competitive advantages will vanish. Also, we run the risk of the business to disappear.

What do we need to do? The first step is to promote activities with stakeholders to raise awareness of the reality of the industry. Who are the stakeholders?  COSEP, CNU, CNZF, MINED, Chamber of Tourism, CACONIC, English Institutes, INATEC, INTUR, and Central Government.

The country has given a step forward in matters of competitive advantage with the Trade Zone Law which helped to create 6000 employments through the establishment of call centers and outsourcing companies. This industry generated 6000 jobs in 8 years. We exported almost US$100 million dollars; paid almost US$ 40 million in salaries; and opened a new business opportunity for the country. Therefore, 8 years ago it was proven that through the Free Trade Zone we have added competitive advantage to the country.

Now we can replicate this scalable example and produce a new badge of 6000 new employments and export another US$ 100 million, though the English speakers demand is higher.  These new employments would ensure a job to 6000 families. Likewise, we need to complement the industry with an even stronger law, one that expands the benefits. Therefore, by having an industry that has a competitive advantage and all these elements would greatly contribute to resolving the country’s poverty and misery issues. Our responsibility is to create an industry that has competitive advantage at a global scale and can solve the need to develop the country, Nicaragua.

What do we need in the case of English? We need to create activities that attack the problem and bring results in a short term. We also need to develop better training practices, and design new intensive programs that prepare English speakers for the work field. For this, we require solid institutions that can train English teachers in the teaching methodology required to prepare English speakers in the short and medium term. Also, we need institutions that go and reproduce English training to public and private schools. We need to form institutes like Keiser which offers intensive English programs that could offer training to young people in an 8-9 month period.

Once trained, these people can easily incorporate and satisfy the needs of the outsourcing industry. In this way, Nicaragua could possess an outsourcing industry that would be a key factor to the development of the country. As well possess a specialized work force in different areas. Equally, we need to ideate new strategies with clear outcomes and competitive advantages to renovate our industries, and add new competitive strategies for Nicaragua to visualize the potential growth of the industry and maintain low costs.

My proposal is to create a Commission of English Development. Its name should be National Commission for the Settlement of a Strategic Route for the Development of English Speaking Resources in Nicaragua. This commission should submit a proposal to the central Government through COSEP. This commission should work towards the development of the service of quality in English. Its role should be to develop a National Plan for the strategic development of the country; assign budget as well as define sources for budgeting. Correspondingly, as a leader in education, we want Keiser University to write a proposal for an Intensive program in the fields of Call Centers, Tourism, Teacher Training and English Teaching.

In summary, it took 120 years for the coffee industry in Nicaragua to evolve and produce in exports US$250 million, which is a proportionate dive compared to the outsourcing business that in 8 years generated the same exports in million dollars. Therefore, it means there are industries that with little competitive advantage, a Free Trade Zone law and the creation of English courses could shift Nicaragua upward to the global markets.

Classroom and MethodologiesEnglish Language Training

The challenges of English Teachers at the Caribbean

by Bosco Bonilla

The 3rd Nicaribbean TESOL Conference held in BICU at Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua was a very educational and edifying experience. Teachers in Bilwi and its surroundings face significant challenges. One of those challenges involves having students from multi-ethnic groups as they can only speak their native dialect and are not able to communicate with other students using a lingua franca. These teachers have to resort to very creative means to deliver their lessons and occasionally, they require a dialect interpreter to develop the content of the class. All the while, they have to bear in mind the issues of human and children’s rights, which is a very sensitive topic in the area.

Also, there are very limited resources available for educators. Most schools in the area lack internet connectivity, computers or sound systems that enable teachers in other locations to develop their classes. The lack of these tools restricts instructors from carrying out activities that could contribute to developing their courses more effectively. However, teachers driven mainly by their passion and love for their profession, make use of all kinds of tricks to enhance their students’ learning. Some of these resources include using realia in the classroom, which sometimes entails carrying around and recycling several bottles or boxes of cleaning products. That goes to prove how passionate and committed they are in Atlantic Coast.

Among other examples, the following can be mentioned: Some teachers have to travel long distances to get to their workplaces, time that is not part of their working hours. Moreover, instructors are required to attend workshops and meetings organized by MINED, which deal with current debates around ethnic rights and political issues that affect education in the area.  So, they have to work beyond their regular working hours too. Notwithstanding such inconveniences, they love their job and go the extra mile on a permanent basis, and there is always an aura of camaraderie and cheerfulness around them. People in Bilwi have a great sense of humor and are very transparent.

The teachers who attended the workshop not only participated actively by asking questions and exchanging their experiences but also took the time to talk about their local culture, food, and idiosyncrasy. The presenters who traveled from Managua to Puerto Cabezas also had the opportunity to share their teaching experience and knowledge in the hopes of making a meaningful contribution to EFL teaching in the zone. These teachers delivered creative and relevant presentations that surely had an impact on the audience. Their topics ranged from Language Codes focused on the differences between accents and pronunciation to making mini whiteboards with cardboard and tape to engage students in participation.

The delivery of the presentation Professional Development from within aimed at giving the audience a broader sense of what Professional Development is and how the needs and characteristics of our students play a vital role in its definition. An additional objective was to demonstrate that Professional Development should not always come from external parties, such as the institution or the government. Instead, it is an ongoing process that starts with instructors’ desire of learning and growing, and finding solutions to problems that they face on a daily basis in their classroom. Furthermore, different resources such as MOOCs and Epub’s were shared with the participants so that teachers could use them to enhance their professional development. Finally, the instructors were informed about the various activities carried out at Keiser Language Institute to boost teachers’ professional development. Just to mention but a few, they heard about Collaboratory sessions as a space for teachers to exchange and share successful practices, activities, innovative ideas, and resources.

In brief, the event turned out to be quite a learning experience for this presenter (author of the article). Both teachers and presenters were very kind and professional and altogether they contributed to making this presenter a more humane, open-minded and sensitive teacher. Thanks to ANPI (Nicaraguan English Teacher Association/Spanish Acronym) for the invitation and organization of the event, and Keiser University Language Institute for the opportunity as a presenter.

English and Technology

My New Best Friend

by Manuel Dos Santos

If you walk around the school or the college campus, you’ll see students glued to their smartphones. The smartphone has become an extension of their bodies, like an added limb.

Surveys from different sources conclude that over 90% of students bring their smartphone to class, and that the majority of them would enjoy using it as a learning tool.  In general, schools have a policy against the use of cell phones in class because they say it distracts students from learning and disrupts the class. So how can we use this ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to our benefit as teachers? How can we take advantage of this technology to help bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world?  The answer is to use the smart phone responsibly and for a specific purpose. Clear limits must be established to students beforehand.

The following are some suggestions on how to incorporate the use of smartphones in the English class.  Besides the authentic input that smartphones can provide, they also help to motivate the class, and students feel that they are responsible for the learning process.  The smartphone is definitely an added benefit, and can be used even at a very elementary level.

Almost every beginner’s course will include the following topics: talk about your family, friends, pets, your house, the weather, pastimes, vacations, and so forth. Let’s see how we can use the smartphone to complement some basic teaching goals.

Family
Traditionally you would ask students to bring photographs of their relatives to class and to describe the people, give their names, their profession, their age. Instead, get students to show photos of their family on their smartphones and to talk about the people. You may start off with your own family using your phone, and elicit what you expect them to say. Example: This is my husband. His name is Antonio. But we call him Tony. And these are my children. Martha is thirteen and Gerardo is eleven. She has straight brown hair. He has black curly hair. Martha is a good student, but Gerry is lazy. His favorite sport is baseball, etc.
Get students to work in groups, and discuss their relatives showing photos on their smartphones. Go around the class and listen to their descriptions. You may ask for volunteers to show you photos and describe their family. Personalization encourages students to talk and makes the class much more interesting.

Pets
If you’re teaching possession, verb “to have” and possessive ‘s, ask students if they have pets and what. It’s advisable first to elicit: I have a dog and two cats. The dog’s name is Lobo and the cat’s name is Sugar. You can use the same procedure as with the family. Ask students to show you photos of their pets and to describe them.

Friends
Get students to show selfies of themselves with friends. Describe where they are (location) and what they are doing (Present Progressive).
This is a selfie of me and my friend Carol. We are in a restaurant. We’re celebrating her birthday.

Weather
In groups, get students to find out the weather conditions in different parts of the world. You’ll be combining weather vocabulary and expressions with the subject of geography: It’s snowing in Beijing, China. It’s winter, and Beijing is in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s sunny and hot in Buenos Aires, because Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s summer there. Get students to compare and contrast the different weather reports.

The principal use of the smartphone is to get students to look up or gather information related to the subject matter being discussed in class – real world challenges. However, there are many other possibilities to use the device as a useful tool for the learning of English. For example:

· Recording:  When reading or role-playing a Conversation from the book, get students to record it and have them check for errors in pronunciation, and other mistakes.

· Dictionary: Get students to look up the meaning of a word in a dictionary application.

· Translator:  Ask students to translate sentences. Sometimes the online translator is inaccurate, so the activity is a good opportunity for error correction.

English: What are you doing next Saturday night? 
Spanish: ¿Qué estás haciendo próximo sábado por la noche?

· Text Messages: Introduce some common acronyms in English at the beginning of the lesson – TKS = thanks, TC = take care, 2day = today, GL = good luck, etc. Have students share phone numbers. Divide the class into groups and get them to send each other messages. To simplify, you may want to write the content of the message on a card for each group. Example: Group A, invite Group B for a party on Friday night. Give time and location. Tell them to bring . . .

As they say, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Teachers have to find ways to co-exist with the smartphone in class, because smartphones and other ICTs are here to stay.

Copyright: Manuel dos Santos                 June, 2015

World View

SPi Global Targets 1,000 employees in Managua by the end of the year

Taken from www.spi-global.com

SPi Global, one of the world’s leading business process outsourcing (BPO) companies today announced that it will further strengthen its delivery capability for its voice and non-voice offerings by expanding its presence in its newly-launched operations in Nicaragua.

“With 1,000 employees by the end of the year, SPi Global will be one of the top 3 BPO employers in Nicaragua,” said SPi Global President and CEO Maulik Parekh.

The 35-year old company launched its Nicaragua operations in December 2014 to offer clients greater diversity in geographic delivery as well as help meet the bilingual support needed in both its CRM and Content Solutions operations.

“Our focus on hiring is going to be pretty aggressive as we look into increasing our current employee base of 350 to 1,000 by end 2015.”

As a multi-shore service provider, SPi Global offers outsourcing solutions from the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China, and the United States. “We’ve seen a strong demand from our existing clients to deliver services from our Nicaragua operations,“ added Parekh.

The company is currently seeking smart, educated, and hard-working people to support a major financial services client, as well as a major satellite TV provider.

Interested applicants should bring an updated copy of their resume and cedula, or submit such documents to SPi Global Nicaragua at the 7th level of Centro Financiero Invercasa.

SPi Global continues to be one of the most awarded BPO companies in Asia receiving more than 70 awards, including the “ 2014 Employer of the Year” and the “2011 BPO Company of the Year” from the international ICT Awards. The company also received numerous citations for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program generating over 250,000 employee volunteer hours to support 60,000 children globally.

About SPi Global
SPi Global is the Philippines’ most globally recognized full-service BPO provider with offices and facilities around the world, including the U.S., Netherlands, Philippines, India, Vietnam, China, Australia and Nicaragua. It has over 20,000 employees delivering a wide range of solutions in Customer Relationship Management, Content, and Healthcare.

SPi Global is fully owned by Asia Outsourcing Gamma Limited, a company owned 80 percent by CVC Capital Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity and investment advisory firms, and 20 percent by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines.

English Language Training

The Power of Language

By Guillermo McLean Herrera
Professor Emeritus
The University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN)

Language is the key to identity formation. Language is also as a door-opener to a world of opportunities. The first thing that comes to mind when we speak about the power of language is “language in the service of power”. That is, power languages as domineering influences upon otherwise weaker or subordinated languages. Such is the case, for example, of the colonizing powers imposing their language and culture upon the languages of the dominated peoples. Another kind of power, however, may stem from a native language, as it serves to strengthen its speakers’ identities, thus, enabling them to fight their battles with better chances of success.

Another important point to remember about language is that it’s “species specific”. That is, restricted to human beings only. It is said that we share 96% of our genes with the chimpanzees, our nearest “cousins”. Language accounts for the 4% that we don’t share with them.  Animals, indeed, have systems of communications; some have very sophisticated systems of communications, like the chimpanzees and the bees. But no animal, other than man, has language.

Noam Chomsky thinks of it as a gadget and calls it Language Acquisition Device (LAD).  It refers to “the innate capacity of human beings to acquire their mother language and to learn any number of other languages they are exposed to”. Incidentally, it is the mother that creates the conditions for language acquisition in the child. So, language is something that we acquire from the cradle. And that’s why there is such a thing as cradle bilingualism, or cradle tri-lingualism, for that matter!

There are 7000 languages in the world today. Other sources claim that there is any number of languages between 6000 and 10,000, spoken in approximately 200 countries. Half of them are spoken by language communities fewer than 2,500 people, the Rama language being an example in Nicaragua.

Eight countries host within its boundaries more than half of the languages of the world: Papua-New Guinea (830), Indonesia (742), Nigeria (521), India (428), Mexico (298), Cameroon (286), Australia (273) and Brazil (235).

According to National Geographic, half of the languages of the world are at the verge of extinction in this century. A language disappears every two weeks, when its last speaker disappears. In the XVI century alone, 1000 languages and 10,000,000 indigenous peoples were wiped out!

Some 3,000 indigenous languages in the world are at the verge of extinction. The disappearance of a language is translated into the disappearance of knowledge. A language never dies alone; rich sources of information about the people, their history and their culture are also lost in the process.

There are many of us who have learned one or more other languages, in addition to our mother languages: some of us for practical reasons, because this was a good way to get a job; some for cultural purposes, because it is cool to be bilingual or tri-lingual; and some just for the fun of it! These are all powerful reasons to learning another language.

But beyond these obvious advantages, there is a whole world of knowledge out there: arts, science and technology accessible to us through language, just waiting to be discovered.  Indeed, speaking other languages, including our other own national languages, opens a whole new world of adventure before our eyes. And when you travel, the deep satisfaction shown in the peoples’ faces can only be fully captured if you speak to them in their own language. Immediately you become “one of them”.

Classroom and MethodologiesClassroom TalesEnglish and Technology

Pearson English Interactive

by Alfieri Avilan
Academic Consultant Central America & the 
Caribbean

The new learning era has turned into a great dilemma that has taken a whole decade to begin to understand, its depth has not been measured yet, it seems as if we are struggling to cope with all the changes and challenges that such wave has brought within.

Educators, researchers, linguistics, scientists, technicians, all have come together to propose plausible solutions to these new challenges, yet the main matter, learners´ necessities, still evades many.

In Pearson for more than one hundred and fifty years, we have preserved three values that drive our behavior, thoughts and actions. One of these values, the imagination of harnessing new technologies in what we do, not with the sole purpose of producing great educational goods, but thinking of and for the future as well as placing the learner in the center of the teaching-learning process has made us understand and measure this new learning era.

It is because in Pearson we understand the new challenges that one of our great online solutions meets in great deal the needs of a new set of learners. The sort, who lacks time to attend regular lessons, is friendly to technology, seeks motivating content and finds it hard to pursue and stay on goal. Pearson English Interactive matches not only these needs; it also faces one of the most important aspects on the inclusion of technology in the classroom, what it represents for teachers and students.

For teachers it means having a remote assistant who can support with extra content, immediate grading, close measurement of students’ progress, also with extra hours, a hundred per level, helps you stay in communication with your groups, and other useful help.

Marking becomes easier; paperwork drops dramatically; personalization of instruction gets as real as it can be.

For students, PEI represents the way they learn, a digital environment where they spend most of their productive time. One may fall for the quick thought that everything digital is good for our learners, it cannot be a more incorrect concept; the key to this successful educational online solution, PEI, resides in its interactivity; it enables the learners to have a large amount of participation. This would resemble a live classroom, except for the fact that a good amount of students does not get that much interaction in real lessons.

Seemingly, Pearson English Interactive being an online solution overlooks the practice of four skills, nothing further form the truth. It allows learners to work and master all four skills and pronunciation, covering the standards for real communication.

It sees English as what it is nowadays, lingua franca, exposing learners to real forms in which people talk around the globe, a critical concept in learning a foreign language, this provides with the authenticity that is necessary in the classroom regardless of the setting, so that the learners understand how the real language is used in the real world.

One other factor that makes PEI so effective is its flexibility, learners can access their courses anytime anywhere, and this allows them to schedule their own pace. Teachers and learners are never apart; they are in contact through an effective, flexible, user friendly, motivating learning management system.

Enabling teachers and learners alike to join the new era of education has become one of the pillars for creating Pearson English Interactive. Blended learning is the future, the way to support, improve and enhance classroom activity, a way to ensure that learners reach their ultimate outcome, communication in the 21st century.

Tourism and Hospitality

Travel and Tourism in Nicaragua

(taken from Euromonitor International)

Tourism industry has mixed opinions of Nicaragua’s Grand Canal project
With the backing of China and Russia, the Nicaraguan government is expected to begin construction of the US$40 billion Nicaragua Canal in late 2014. The 286 kilometre canal will connect the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Nicaragua, traversing Lake Nicaragua along the way, and will directly compete with the Panama Canal in shipping. The canal is expected to bring overall economic growth to the country, but many fear that it will negatively affect the tourism industry. For example, visitors may be deterred by the large-scale construction of the project, which will create an unattractive landscape, noise and traffic. After the canal is completed, the presence of large ships in Lake Nicaragua, where the popular tourist spot, Isla de Ometepe, is located, may deter visitors. Furthermore, the canal may pollute and damage delicate ecosystems in Lake Nicaragua and protected rainforests, preventing development of eco-tourism.

However, some argue that the canal may be a significant tourist attraction similar to the Panama Canal, where its main visitor center in Miraflores, receives almost 800,000 visitors annually.

Lack of bilingual workforce inhibits Nicaragua tourism growth
The US is Nicaragua’s second leading source country after Honduras, accounting for 21% of visitors in 2013. According to the Instituto Nicaragüense de Turismo, (INTUR), the US, Canada and Europe combined accounted for 30% share of arrivals to the country in 2013. Furthermore, many visitors from European countries do not expect employees to speak their language and therefore default to using English. For this reason, demand for bilingual travel retail employees and accommodation and foodservice staff is high. However, the Asociación de Turoperadoras Turísticas de Nicaragua estimates that less than 25% of total tour guides are proficient in English, while the Asociacion de Pequeños Hoteles de Nicaragua (HOPEN) notes that less than half of those who apply for jobs in hotels or foodservice can confidently speak English. Not only are some potential visitors hesitant to visit the country due to the lack of bilingual services but businesses also face higher costs due to the scarcity of bilingual employees, who charge premium for their services. As a result, some industry stakeholders argue that those who attend university tourism or hospitality programs require basic proficiency in English to graduate.

Nicaragua seeks greater tourism expenditure via high-end visitors
Nicaragua is considered to be one of the “cheapest” destinations for travel in Central America, which is a key draw for visitors. Tourism expenditure is the lowest in the region at US$41 per day, less than half of daily spend in neighbouring Costa Rica according to the Tourism Secretary of the Central American Integrations System (SICA). While the government seeks to attract more visitors in terms of volume, it is also wants to attract visitors with higher spending habits. However, the tourism industry currently lacks a wide range of high-end offerings that would attract greater spending. Only 100 of the 750 registered hotels are ranked three to five stars and the accommodation industry just added its first five-star hotel with construction of the Mukul luxury resort in 2013. Furthermore, the country lacks direct air connections, which further limits development of high-end tourism. The government and other stakeholders began to increase investment to attract high-end visitors over the review period, but further development in accommodation and air transportation will be necessary for success.

Students' Voices

Our Art vs. Craft Experience

Level 7 & 8 Students (June 2015)

Students from levels 7 and 8 of the Academic English Program had the chance to present their Art and Craft projects. The project consisted of elaborating both a sewn piece of cloth to craft a quilt and a painting that later they had to show and tell to the rest of their classmates. Besides, they posted their artistic creation on the Language Institute bulletin board.  Altogether, students experienced and tried to transmit their emotions through art and craft. Below you will read individual comments from their experiences in the order of appearance in the picture starting from left to right.

All is about different perceptions. Every single work includes both art and craft because we usually require instructions, but we also let ourselves flow. As Mary-Frances said, “My art is what I make; my craft is the skills I have learned to do it well.” –Camilo Zeledón, “The Tree of Life”.

I enjoy studying mathematics for long hours, so I do not usually spend time doing recreational activities. However, I had always wanted to meet the artist within me, and thanks to this terrific experience I was able to achieve it. –Adonis Gómez, “Peaceful Bedroom”.

‘’ Beyond the eyes ‘’ was how I called my artwork. You can perceive it as a simple painting, but it has an important message that I wanted to transmit through it. What I experienced while I was painting it was that my imagination, feelings, and mood influenced it. As a result, I got an extraordinary vision of the world I desire to live. When I saw the painting, I felt like in another world where everyone is different in the way of thinking.  People being open minded never limit themselves to achieve as desired. I’m pretty sure that once you admire ‘‘Beyond the eyes”, you will feel a bond between you and the painting-Lineth Castillo, “Beyond the eyes.”

My experience in this project was very satisfactory because I learned many differences between these types of art. Also, at the moment you begin to do your work, you start to wonder and ask yourself if it is art or craft.-Indira Olivas, “Songs mixed with colors.”

I liked the activity since it was new to me. I had never painted nor sewed, but my quilt and painting looked beautiful. Now, I can say that I have talent, and I can get a job as a craftsperson. –Mario Sandoval,  “Mix of Colors“.

I felt euphoric since I did a good job with my quilt and painting. Also, I liked the activity because I learned how to sew and paint. I expressed some feelings in the painting such as optimism and perseverance. –Kevin Pérez, “Never Give Up”.

My art-and-craft experience was amazing since I learned how to transform a poem into a painting by relating my feelings to it. Nevertheless, beholding my art-and-craft work was just astonishing because they created more feelings on me than the ones I was expecting. –Abner Sándigo, “Ms. Moon.”

English Language TrainingMust Read

Book Review – An A-Z of ELT

Book Title: An A-Z of ELT
Author: Scott Thurnbury
Year of Publication: 2006
Publisher: Macmillan

 

 

 

Review by

An A-Z of ELT is a fully cross-referenced, alphabetical guide to ELT that defines and explains essential language concepts and terminology from fields including grammar, linguistics, discourse analysis, phonology, etc.

It describes language teaching techniques and theories and summarizes the major issues and debates associated with each concept. The entries are clear, concise and readable, accessible to users with little or no specialist knowledge.

It is a practical, informative guide indispensable to teachers and teacher trainers of all levels of experience. Entries provide summaries of the major issues in ELT as well as their practical implications. New teachers can check the meanings of new terms whilst experienced teachers will gain a more wide-ranging understanding of topics of interest.

Classroom and MethodologiesClassroom Tales

Teaching Tales – Humor in the Classroom

By Thomas Fleming, Mount Aloysius College

What makes something sound or look humorous? Is it Semantics? Is it Cultural? Does it have to do with Pragmatics? Why can we detect/enjoy humor and other animals don’t? Look at the story below and send us your comments.

First Grade Drawing – A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for her homework assignment. The teacher graded it and the child took it home. She returned to school the next day with the following note:
Dear Ms. Davis, I want to be perfectly clear on my child’s homework illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint surrounded by male customers with money. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel. Sincerely, Mrs. Harrington

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English FactoidsMultimedia

Factoids about English and Languages

  • Number of living languages: 6912
  • Number of those languages that are nearly extinct: 516
  • Language with the greatest number of native speakers: Mandarin Chinese
  • Language spoken by the greatest number of non-native speakers: English (250 million to 350 million non-native speakers)
  • Country with the most languages spoken: Papua New Guinea has 820 living languages.
  • How long have languages existed: Since about 100,000 BC

  • First language ever written: Sumerian or Egyptian (about 3200 BC)
  • Oldest written language still in existence: Chinese or Greek (about 1500 BC)
  • Language with the most words: English, approx. 250,000 distinct words
  • Language with the fewest words: Taki Taki (also called Sranan), 340 words. Taki Taki is an English-based Creole spoken by 120,000 in the South American country of Suriname.
  • Language with the largest alphabet: Khmer (74 letters). This Austro-Asiatic language is the official language of Cambodia, where approx.12 million people speak it. Minority speakers live in a handful of other countries.
  • Language with the shortest alphabet: Rotokas (12 letters). Approx. 4300 people speak this East Papuan language. They live primarily in the Bougainville Province of Papua New Guinea.
  • The language with the fewest sounds (phonemes): Rotokas (11 phonemes)
  • The language with the most sounds (phonemes): !Xóõ (112 phonemes). Approx. 4200 speak !Xóõ, the vast majority of whom live in the African country of Botswana.

  • Language with the fewest consonant sounds: Rotokas (6 consonants)
  • Language with the most consonant sounds: Ubyx (81 consonants). This language of the North Causasian Language family, once spoken in the Haci Osman village near Istanbul, has been extinct since 1992. Among living languages, !Xóõ has the most consonants (77).
  • Language with the fewest vowel sounds: Ubyx (2 vowels). The related language Abkhaz also has 2 vowels in some dialects. There are approximately 106,000 Abkhaz speakers living primarily in Georgia.
  • Language with the most vowel sounds: !Xóõ (31 vowels)
  • The most widely published language: English
  • Language with the fewest irregular verbs: Esperanto (none)
  • Language which has won the most Oscars: Italian (12 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film)
  • The most translated document: Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, written by the United Nations in 1948, has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.
  • The most common consonant sounds in the world’s languages: /p/, /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/
  • Longest word in the English language: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters)