Newsletter:Autumn 2012 print

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From the Committee

From the Editor...

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Dear Members,

Welcome to the Autumn Edition of the ELTA-Rhine Newsletter. The chill of autumn is well and truly upon us, the days are growing shorter and darker, and the new academic year is in full-swing. Schools are back, unis are starting, and teachers are beginning to take on that harassed Don’t Mess With Me expression. But don’t let it all get you down! Not long now and we’ll be into the next silly-season of Christmas markets, Glühwein and too many pastries.

I hope you all had a restful and recuperative summer, and I hope those of you who have been looking for work to fill your timetables have been successful in finding it.

The summer break has certainly led to a profusion of contributions from members for this edition. I’m delighted to be offering a range of articles from the philosophical to the entertaining to the practical. We see the return of some sections we haven’t seen in a while – Teaching Materials, for one, and On the lighter side, for another – and we launch a new regular column introducing useful websites for teachers.

A big thank you to all our contributors and to the Newsletter team (Karina, Graham, Angela and Ula) for keeping everything ticking over.

As you read through the Newsletter, please think about how these themes affect you in your teaching lives. Feedback, in the form of a Letter to the Editor, a mini-contribution, or a full-blown article, is always welcome, and will appear in the Winter Edition. If you have different methods of teaching, related activities, materials that you’ve put together for one of your classes, etc., please let us know. It doesn’t take much time, and we can all benefit from your thoughts and experience.

As always, you can read the Newsletter online, or you can open a PDF version by pressing ‘Print Version’ at the top of the Front Page. The teaching materials are also available as separate PDFs (see Print Version in each relevant contribution) for ease of saving and printing. You need to log on to access any of the articles or the print version. If you are having difficulties logging on, please contact me ( and I’ll see what I can do.

Happy Reading,


Newsletter Editor

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Committee News


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Dear members,

As I've said before, we've got a great committee keeping the wheels turning in 2012. Thanks to all the committee members - organising the events, taking care of the budgeting, etc. - and the volunteer helpers - before and after events, supporting the tasks of the committee, sharing your ideas and energy.

But we're always in need of more help. And we're always delighted to hear from people who'd like to help!

If you would like to lend a hand with anything - organising, helping with visiting speakers, participating in committee meetings and adding your two-bobs' worth - please let me know at We'll gladly welcome you to the team.

Happy teaching,


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Comings and Goings

Mike Hicks, Membership Secretary

With just over 270 members, we're continuing to grow throughout the region. We farewell a few members this season, some of whom have been with ELTA-Rhine for many years. We're sorry to see you go, and wish you all the best with your future endeavours. Meanwhile, we welcome newcomers from all over the globe. Great to have you join us!

Those going...

Nik Kemp, Sylvain Metz, Donald Kielty, Silke Rische, Katja Ott

Those coming... new in 2012

Noel Denvir, Alex Martin, Eleni Stefanidou, Sarah Bernhardt, Debra Grayson, Linda Paul, Anja Binot, Julia Schmidt, Natalie Cusenza, Christa Wright, Michelle Hagenberg, Tracey Gaul, Heike Kampa, Claudia Heib, Eva Schuster, Margaret Tittgen, Pamela Das, Malcom Giles, Luis Alvarez, Dagmar Raulin, Ulrike Nickel, Stefanie Schönenstein-Buchholz, William Hedgeland, Jennifer Brook-Taylor

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The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Many locals left London in floods in July. But new ELTA-Rhine member Jo Shemilt had been waiting 12 years to see her country compete. A first-hand view of the London Olympics.

The 6th July 2005 will stay with me as one of the most important but nerve-wracking days of my life. On this day feelings of dread swamped me. London was competing against Paris to host the 2012 Olympics. Paris was the favourite and the majority of British people had already prepared for the bad news. Stunned surprise and shock: London was announced as the host city for the 2012 Olympics Games. Cue massive celebrations and euphoria across the whole country. Bad luck Paris, it was London’s turn to shine.

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Now it was 2012 and the Games had begun. Excitement built as Saturday approached; the Riverbank Arena was the host of the hockey tournament and our venue for the day. My expectations were surpassed when I found out GB against China was the second match of the day. The day had been divided into three and my sister, Mum and I were attending the afternoon session. Each session, morning, afternoon and evening, hosted two matches and it was pure luck which allowed us the opportunity to witness the host nation against China. Excitement was building, and continued to build on the journey towards London.

At the Riverbank Arena: Not just a little parochial, are we, Jo?

After a journey of about an hour and a half we arrived in London and were greeted by an extensive network of pink signs. It just wasn’t possible to get lost on the way to the Olympic Park. Due to congestion in the Park itself, we decided to go straight towards West Ham, which was a 25-minute walk away from the Park. It was a good decision, as we walked towards the Park with other fans, and the excitement was already building in anticipation of a wonderful day ahead of us.

Due to fantastic organisation, the journey to West Ham by tube only took about an hour. There were no major delays, with only a wait of about 15 minutes at Moorgate tube station for a train towards West Ham. No complaints so far.

The afternoon hockey session didn’t start until 1.45pm, so we walked around the Park and soaked up the atmosphere. The Olympic Stadium was impressive and the epicentre of the whole Park. We were lucky to witness two live medal ceremonies while enjoying the experience of being at our first Olympic games. Two gold medals went to Team GB and the whole crowd went wild. Amazing.

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At 1.15pm we were allowed to take our seats in the arena, opposite the scoreboard towards one end, where we had an excellent view of the pitch. Photos were taken to remember this historic day. Mobile phones do occasionally have their uses, especially the camera function. In future when embarking on such an important trip, the camera battery will be checked multiple times beforehand.

Belgium against Japan was the first game in our session and Japan were the weakest in the group, so it was promising to be an easy game. For this game I had become a Belgian, and joined the select groups of supporters in the stadium, cheering their team on. As hockey games go, it wasn’t the most exciting, but the majority British crowd did their best to support the sides, warming up their voices in preparation for the second game of the session. The final score was 1-1 and it summed up a very equal sided game.

Team GB on the attack

The second game started at 4pm and it was the game that most of the crowd were there to see. The cheers that the British team received when they ran out onto the pitch would set the tone for the entire game. The atmosphere was building and hundreds of Union Flags could be seen waving around us. I have never seen so many flags in such a small area. As the game started the cheering just got louder and I felt sorry for China: the right support has been proven to carry a team through a difficult match. Team GB did not have the best start: passes were going astray and tackles seemed far too easy for the Chinese. But there was still plenty of time to go. At the end of the first half Team GB had five penalty corners in a row, but none of them were converted. (It is inexcusable in a hockey match to have five penalty corners and not convert any of them.) During half time most of the conversations mentioned the five unconverted penalty corners; it was lovely to hear the passion and support for the team but it was obvious that frustration was building. China were the weakest team in the group and Team GB were expected to win.

The second half started and only five minutes into the half China won a penalty corner and converted it. 1-0. Another 6 minutes passed and another penalty corner awarded to China; yet again they had no trouble in converting it. 2-0. The frustration amongst the British supporters was reaching a crescendo and shouts of ‘come on’ were echoing around the whole stadium. Just over twenty minutes to go, and we had to score twice more. I was still optimistic. Stranger things have happened during a sports match. As the time ticked by the shouts got louder and the crowd became an extra player for Team GB. Eventually, our shouts were rewarded. A penalty corner was finally converted; but 1 out of 6 wasn’t good enough and the scoreline, 2-1, reflected the team’s performance. Team GB were not good enough and didn’t deserve to win. Now we had to beat the leaders of the group, the Netherlands, to have a chance of progressing through to the quarter finals. The atmosphere was subdued as we walked out of the stadium but at least we could console each other.

The whole day cost per person about £100 including a return train ticket from Stafford and a ticket to the hockey for the afternoon session. (A day’s tube travelling was part of the ticket price, a very important bonus, as it ensured we didn’t have to waste time queuing for tube tickets at London Euston). We provided our own lunch and snacks throughout the day, which brought the cost down, but every penny spent was completely worth it. The atmosphere, the excitement and the huge crowds will stay with me for the rest of my life. If London ever gets another opportunity to host the Olympics in my lifetime I will not need to be asked twice: I’ll be there!

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Reaping the Benefits of Being Authentic

Revealing some of your own oddities can motivate your students to learn, Kay von Randow explains.

Perhaps 'being authentic' is not what one would immediately categorise as a tool for successful teaching, but personal experience has shown me the rewards this brings. Let me elucidate: I attended a very formal grammar school where teachers who managed to retain an authoritative distance to their pupils were regarded with awe. However, we of course tried to ferret out personal details about them. The one and only time I did really well in a Chemistry exam at school was when we were gifted with a new teacher who actually let slip little facts about herself ... there was an elderly, sick father in the background ... a fiancé in Scotland ... a fondness for a certain brand of biscuit ... dressmaking as a hobby. She was not embarrassed to give her views on any subject we asked, though she kept to propriety at all times. Although Chemistry had previously been the proverbial Book of Seven Seals for me, this teacher, by presenting herself as an authentic person and not a cardboard cut-out employed to teach 'a subject', grabbed my attention. In general, I was very inclined to daydream at school, but I changed and became 'present' and concentrated during the Chemistry lessons.... and achieved the top grade in the annual exam.

Now I myself am in the situation of inspiring students to learn what I impart, and this earlier experience has played a role in shaping my approach. I would always advocate remaining professional and keeping information about your family to a minimum, and especially steering clear of ANY mention of drama or difficulties, but by choosing to be 'as you are' and being open about likes and dislikes, and not hiding aspects of your character, you do your students an enormous favour. They can relax ... and as we all know, relaxed students learn better! In particular, I don't feel I need to hide a headache OR my resulting irritability and perhaps foggy thinking due to this. Or that I'm a trifle pre-occupied because I've just taken my car to the garage for the TÜV ... Very human, helps the students not feel guilty when their attention wanders to the meeting they have to attend later that day!

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Being authentic as a person helps your students relate to you. And using selected personal information about yourself can be a really useful teaching tool. James Schofield showed us very clearly, in his presentation last year, that stories can be used to teach an amazing variety of grammar concepts and literary skills. Remembering the proverb Truth can be stranger than fiction will perhaps remind you that true stories can be the most gripping of all - consider the popularity of Reader's Digest.

There is a facet of me which has provided subject material in free conversation sessions, and which, contrary to my first expectations, did not result in my being dismissed, or carted off to a lunatic asylum. When students ask what brought me to Germany I answer: I visited Würzburg in 1980 to help with a concert tour by a children's Chamber Music Club of which I was a former member, and I fell in love with the trees here in Germany. From that one simple statement, whole lessons have evolved, because I've shared something unusual and have shown that I'm open to further discussion!!! I've also been privileged to observe that focussing on something out-of-the-ordinary helps students to speak without the hesitation which results from worrying about whether their grammar is correct. In effect, they leave their minds behind and just let the questions flow, and often surprise themselves at how fluent they can be. And another maxim which I work with is: Success breeds success.

Taking this a step further.... I've now lived in Germany for 26 years, and my relationship to the trees (and Nature) has grown and expanded in amazing ways: I talk to them, and they communicate with me through images which I 'see' in my head. So when I decided to produce a series of audio blogs as a standard for pronunciation and intonation; and to introduce non-native speakers to aspects of the language such as the 'rise and fall' (to match emotions) in English sentences, individual word stress, differing rhythms, incomplete sentences and colloquialisms, I knew that authentic language and style would flow best when I was really being authentic and talking from the heart. I decided to use my relationship to Nature, and what I've experienced and learnt about life from my daily walks in the forest, and have now compiled some of the stories into a CD called Tree Tales. Each of the five tales has an introduction in which I explain the teaching points, and then I tell the tale.

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Of course, in order to get my teaching points across, I have sometimes exaggerated and even 'acted' a little. My experience has shown that in order to encourage non-native speakers to bring these elements into their speech, it helps to make them a bit 'larger than life'.

In a way, this is a 'coming out' for me, as the experiences I talk about on Tree Tales belong to another part of my life, and I may get some odd reactions, but I do have the satisfaction of knowing that by being completely authentic, I've produced some first-class teaching material. This CD is a great stimulus for free conversation, and can also be used as a starting point for teaching the vocabulary needed for expressing opinions, and taking part in meetings.

Anyone interested in purchasing The Tree Tales CD is welcome to contact me privately by email:

Kay von Randow

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Fingertip Teaching

Noel Denvir offers us 10 emergency lessons without, or with very limited, materials

We all know the situation: You have to fill in at the last minute, the photocopier is not working, only two of the eight students have turned up. You need to conjure up a lesson out of the air. So here are some tips where all you will need is a board marker or your voice.

Personal Information Write: NAME JOB LIVE BORN on the board and then get this information from the students. This could also be done as pair work.

Third person information Same idea, but the student has to tell you what they know about the person next to, or opposite, them. What they don’t know, they must ask. This could also be done about their best friend.

Addresses On the board:

Where do you live?

"How long have you lived there?

"Where did you live before?"

"Why did you move?"

This could also be done as pair work. Lots of grammar here!

Superlatives On the board:

My earliest memory

My best holiday

My oldest friend

The furthest away I’ve been

My first car

My first flight

Pair work is possible, and there may be tears of joy and nostalgia - so keep tissues handy.

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Numbers Dictation Dictate ten sentences that have one or two numbers and they must identify what each number refers to.

Example: The train standing at platform 14a is the 15.35 to London

You can simply make these up on the spot, with kilos, miles, house numbers etc…

Responses Dictation

Tell students to write an answer or a response to each of your statements.

Say things which require a response - e.g. Are you from here? Thank you! May I sit here?

This should be done fairly quickly, to train spontaneous reactions.

Skeleton Listening

Get a text from a book and write out some key words on the board. Then read the text as a listening comprehension. The students have to fill the gaps.

Example: (On board) Yesterday – Italy – 56 – London – Tunnel

Full text: Yesterday a bus carrying 56 tourists from London broke down in a tunnel in Italy.

The students have to read this back to you and must spell some words.

Can develop into a long and instructive session!

Spelling Dictate difficult words like names or technical terms. The idea is simply to get the spelling right.

This is also a wonderful way of reviewing vocabulary.

Truth or Lie Write six things about yourself on the board. Tell the students that some are true and some not. They must then question you to find out which are true. You could ask them also to do this.

(This is high level and requires a motivated class)

Reporting Find some short texts from books and ask each of the students to read theirs, make notes, then cover the text and tell the others about it.

OK. Now find out what room they’re in!

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On the Lighter Side...

From Song to Text

Modelling creativity in the classroom

Lorcan Flynn sent in this contribution, to demonstrate how songs can be used creatively in teaching. This song, sung to the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, from Mary Poppins, was written by a group of his students, in celebration of the wedding of another student in the class.

Lorcan tells us this is a useful method for practising structures – by choosing an original song with the language feature you wish to work with (e.g. past tense, conditionals, etc.). This can be done as a group activity in class, or set as homework, with the funniest song getting a prize.



If you are a Bahrami and you're from Koblenz Town And you are a happy girl who's never known to frown And you have a lot of friends and never let them down You must know we love you so. We're glad that you're around.

You're Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day – Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day

One sunny day not long ago, young Behrooz Bahrami Ran quickly to his workbench with a big, wide grin of glee I have a pretty little girl to dangle on my knee His patient and assistants all sang with him: One Two Three

She's Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day – Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day

Angelika was mighty proud as every Mam should be She told all family, neighbours, friends about her own sweet pea They all came by and kissed her cheeks and drank a cup of tea And wet the baby's head again and all said: We agree

She's Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day – Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day

Her family moved to Delhoven when she was still quite small But if she did not get her way, she knew well how to bawl And when she met her new friends, she soon had them in her thrall For when they'd talk about her, all those folk said, one and all

She's Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day – Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day

When Dustin came into her life her smile got broader still Been lighting up the whole world since he asked her if she will To see our Neda so happy gives everyone a thrill And her friends who love her so will sing this song until

They’re Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day – Wedding Wedding Wedding - Wedding Day

So, on this, your wedding day, we wish you all the best We think that you are really cool. We hope you will be blessed With repetitions of yourselves, at first two, then the rest. And to express their happiness, in this song they'll invest

You're Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious

Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious Nedacalifragilisticexpialidocious



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Win lovely things

It’s amazing what catches your eye when you go home on vacation. Ivan Midgley, on having been away too long.

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Win lovely things. We’re talking breakfast-in-bed sets, lovely farm holidays... that sort of thing. Sorry – not here, though. If you go to the website of Dorset Cereals, however, there are all kinds of simple pleasures awaiting you – not only for cereal lovers, but also for the more discerning connoisseur of marketing English and current usage of our glorious language.

It all started this summer, on holiday in England, over breakfast. The time-honoured tradition over a bowl of “honest, tasty, real” muesli topped with banana and raspberries, of reading the cereal packet. Once I’d started I simply couldn’t stop. I read the top, the bottom, all four sides and the flaps inside the top. I was gripped.

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Maybe I’ve been living a sheltered life, but I have to say that this modest little packet of muesli seemed to me to explore whole new dimensions in cereal box marketing language. Look at the orthography, the grammar, the use of metaphor and idiom, the mix of language styles...

There could be an English lesson here, but I’ll leave it up to you to think one up. Just look at the photos and read the text, very, very carefully.

And when you’ve done that and your curiosity is aroused, try their website. Here’s a sample:

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If you wander along to our online shop and, after perusing all on offer, decide to buy something, there’ll be an extra little treat winging it’s way to you. The lovely people at Teapigs got in touch with us to say they would love to give some of their wonderful ‘tea temples’ to you, so we said “brilliant!”. They also sent a few to us and after a minor scrum we all emerged with different varieties of Teapigs tea brewing away in our mugs… a collective sigh of happiness soon echoed round the office.

I rather fear the folk at Dorset Cereals actually talk like this. I also fear I’m not getting back to Britain often enough to keep up with the evolution of our language. I’m astounded, but at the same time surprisingly (gloriously?) captivated by it all. And I have to say, their muesli really is excellent!

For a printable PDF set of these pictures, click here

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Summer’s Silly Season

Alex Chapman on English-language oddities

Sitting at home one August afternoon I thought of a problem for a while, then it puzzled me even more, and finally I said to myself I must get down to the nitty-gritty.

That was fatal.

I wondered how many other expressions I could find like that. I asked around, and then put out the idea to you, ELTA-Rhine members.

Thank you, this is the list YOU made. A thank you to Lilly, Judith, Drew, Kirwin, Lisa, Davine, Christopher, Uwe, Kay, Andreas, Colin and Graham, as well as my friend Tim.

I have only broken the list down into three categories. Where known, I have tried to put the German equivalent, but the translation is not the idea of the listings. This is simply a list of strange words we use. A brief study of the English language.

If you need an electronic listing of the words shown here a short email to me (alexchapma​ will suffice. A printable version is available here

Simply enjoy it …. Smile a summer’s smile.

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Teaching Materials



I created this activity to use with groups who wanted to learn how to make effective presentations in English. In many cases, these groups had actual presentations to work with but I wanted a light, fun activity to practise the key expressions without them having to deliver a full presentation.

Below are cards that can be printed out and laminated. I also use a blank game board (many are free for download online) or you can create your own. The game is based on the Snakes and Ladders principle.

Alternative 1: Use the cards only as a quick review. Alternative 2: Print out the following page, add in the words START and FINISH and students move along the board.

By: Karina Kellermann

Printable version

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Survival Stories

This reading activity formed part of a sequence of lessons that I did last term on the topic of surviving in extreme situations. The following story is my own creation and was used as part of a class test at the end of the sequence, but it can also be used as an introduction to the topic. Since my students were already familiar with the vocabulary, only the new words were added at the end, but you could pre-teach any vocab that you think necessary.

After reading the story (the story I used as my warm-up came from the old Headway series, pre-intermediate, which for copyright reasons cannot be published here), we discussed other survival stories that the learners had heard of and other extreme situations. We extended our vocabulary, creating mind-maps for different types of dangerous situations.

In the next two lessons we watched the movie 127 Hours and discussed it. Any survival movie would do instead of 127 Hours. We practised writing a film review and then I led into the third conditional (If he hadn't..., then he wouldn't have...). Since my students were able to do the first and second conditionals already, we reviewed all three together. The movie isn't essential, since the text would suffice as a lead-in to the grammar.

In the class test at the end of the sequence, the students read an adapted version of the BBC article Who, What, Why: How long can someone survive without food? (, did an exercise on conditionals and then they had a free-writing activity where they could create their own story.

By Karina Kellermann

For a printable version of the Newspaper story and activities, click here


Lost, alone and injured on a mountain

14 July 2011

Gary Smith celebrated his twentieth birthday yesterday, but he is lucky to be alive. In March this year, he went to Scotland with some friends. They wanted to spend some time together before they go to their different universities in September. They had planned their trip well: they took maps of the area where they wanted to hike, enough tinned food to last them for days and very warm clothing because temperatures in Scotland can sink to minus six degrees at night.

Gary and his friends arrived in the Grampian mountains in the Scottish Highlands on Friday March 20th. They decided to spend the night at a youth hostel, before starting their first mountain climb on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, they had a serious argument. Gary wanted to climb Ben Nevis first, Britain's highest mountain, but the others wanted to try out the smaller mountains before attempting the "Ben", as the local people call it. Gary was so upset with his friends, that he decided to climb Ben Nevis on his own. He got up early while everyone was sleeping, packed his rucksack with some tins of soup, a few bars of chocolate and water. Luckily, his camping equipment was brand new: his tent and his sleeping bag could keep him warm even in temperatures of minus twenty-five. Gary did not know then that this would save his life.

Gary left the hostel quietly. The night was clear and cold – the thermometer showed minus two point six. Gary felt free and alive, and he hurried towards Ben Nevis. When he arrived at the foot of the mountain, it was four a.m. He checked his map. He didn't want to use the well-constructed Pony Track, which many climbers use to get to the top of the mountain. The real challenge was to climb the rock face on the northern side of the mountain, 700 metres high. Gary had done some courses in rock-climbing and was always one of the best in his class. To reach the top from the northern side would be a great achievement. He took several photos of the landscape and himself at different phases during his climb. It would make a great photo album. How his friends would be jealous of him!

He was so busy thinking about his friends that he did not look where he was going. The ground was frozen and he slipped and fell some twenty metres down. A sharp rock tore a hole in his tent and he broke his left leg. He was in pain and could not move. He could not call anyone, as his mobile phone had fallen out of his pocket when he fell. That night, a storm hit. The temperature dropped to minus ten and the wind was bitterly cold. Gary could not sleep. His fingers were frozen and so was the soup. He ate chocolate to keep his energy up. Fortunately, his water bottle was inside his jacket so it did not freeze. He managed to get into his sleeping bag, although moving his broken leg hurt him so much that he nearly passed out.

Meanwhile his friends back at the youth hostel realized that Gary had gone to Ben Nevis alone. They knew that Gary was an experienced climber, so they did not worry too much. However, when they saw the storm on Saturday night, and Gary didn't answer any of their phone calls or text messages, they informed the emergency services. Early on Sunday morning, as soon as the wind died down, mountain rescue teams set out to search for Gary. They found him at 9.00 on Sunday morning.A helicopter took him to hospital, where he had several operations. He lost two of his fingers and all of the toes on his left foot. Gary says that he is still very lucky to be alive. If it hadn't been for his faithful friends, he would have died on Ben Nevis.

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English as a Lingua France

Business English as a Lingua Franca

Vicki Hollett 24 June 2012


An Inspiring Workshop from the Heart

Vicki kicked off the workshop in her flip-flops and her very natural way by asking 9 questions. One was really the essence of the whole talk: Are native speaker standards still the best measure for correctness? Vicki answered: I have no idea how to solve that one!

There are no black or white answers. We can only try to make our students aware of the differences and the different shades of differences.

Continuing, Vicki firstly touched on language acquisition, and mentioned that we spend an awful lot of time trying to teach “th” as in thing. And really it doesn’t matter. If it comes out as “zing”, it is still understood within the context.

After whizzing over a few slides she came to accommodation, quoting Alan Firth, who coined the phrase – “letting it pass”. This means that you don’t want to correct someone just for the sake of correcting them. More often than not a correction interrupts the social atmosphere.

Here she played us an example of a real dialogue about cheese and “blowing”. I found this conversation totally incomprehensible, but the two men involved knew exactly what they were talking about. They somehow solved the communication problem and struck a deal. SO LET IT PASS!

Vicki encouraged us to nurture and reward these very important “accommodation skills” in our students. The skill of being able to package meanings differently for different people.

At this point, some thought-provoking questions arose from the audience. Should we be teaching ELF to native speakers? How far do you accommodate? Maybe as a native speaker we exploit power over our clients or students? These questions remained largely unanswered, but they made me think about my own teaching.

Vicki then gave us another very clear example of a communication problem, this time at an American airport:

A British woman was asked if she had anything to declare. She said, “Yes – I’ve got a penknife”. The airport official was very upset, having all sorts of criminal images of this woman. At some point, a Spanish-speaking person piped up – “perhaps the lady means pocket knife?” Whereupon the official backed off. Apparently, he had had a picture of a pen with a knife in it! It seems that even native speakers may benefit from learning from ELF speakers sometimes.

Vicki then mentioned call centres, and the great skills their staff possess. They upgrade and downgrade their language in real time all of the time. Can we or our students do this in the classroom?

With this in mind, Vicki suggested using different contexts for “old” topics. A typical “old” topic would be to describe your job. Why not ask the student to describe his job to an 8-year old, or to a business colleague from a totally different area? This is simply a process of repeating the tasks, but changing the context.

We then had a group activity. We all received different pieces of paper with different instructions. Mine was: sit still with your hands on your lap, only talk if asked a question. Others included: don’t listen, talk all the time, exaggerate. Then we had to circulate and talk about football.

This was to demonstrate the idiom, different folks different strokes, i.e. we live in a world with different styles of communication. Practically speaking, it’s important to be aware of different styles and make our students aware of them.

Vicki mentioned a colleague of hers who made analogies to different types of sports. The rugby style of communicating is getting down there at the same time – maybe the African way of communicating? Basket ball - passing to one another – the German way of communicating? And bowling - more the one at a time – the Asian way of communicating?

What about achieving clarity? Mr A “Those cookies look nice”, means: I’D LIKE ONE. Mr B “I made them for my children’s school” is the answer, meaning: NO, YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE. Mr A “Oh really, how old are your children?” Mr A saves face by asking about the children.

Is directness always good? Is ambiguity always bad?

Vicki stressed that the answer to this question depends on the relationship value, and I think she's right. She advised: the more we prepare our students for ambiguity, the more they can deal with it themselves.

She mentioned a few areas of language we may want our students to be aware of.

Vague additives

For example, “We’ve made just 30% increase”. The figure was exactly 30% but “just” is added to create an informal atmosphere. Something worth explaining to students?

Some American Euphemisms

Loo – Bathroom False teeth – dental appliances Hospital – wellness centre Operations – procedures Old age pensioner – senior citizen

Or British English – when a person says “with the greatest respect” - you can be sure he’s not going to say anything respectful.

A comment on Performative Verbs

Vicki suggested we throw away lists of de-contextualized phrases such as I apologize for, I demand that ,I quit , I propose, I suggest. After all, how often do we say – I disagree? We don’t really say these phrases. They are used more in writing. Should we change our syllabus?

Vicki gave the following hints for our teaching:

- Always look at the context - The world is never context-free - Speech does not fit into tidy boxes - Look at the discourse rather than the language – explore the shades of grey

Getting specific about the context

Take the standard phrase Would you mind opening the door? as an example. We label this as more formal, more polite. But these labels are not helpful. It's better to ask the question: Who’s talking to whom and why?

Vicki then showed us a diagram called THE BULGE, demonstrating the differences in language used when talking to strangers, intimates or people in-between. With strangers we are direct and with intimates we are direct, but with the in-betweens we are more involved in relationship building and therefore use long phrases.

For example, you'd probably say to a stranger and friend - “take it”. For the in-between category of relationship you'd probably say, “could you please take the …”

Vicki wound up with a wonderful list to demonstrate her initial point – let it pass: communication still happens.

Thank I you

I very appreciate

I never forget you kindness

I’ll pay you back.

We all understand, don’t you?

By Angela Tuckley

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Events Bulletin: Upcoming Events

Emma Stockton

After a very inspiring workshop with Mike Hogan yesterday (a full report coming in the winter newsletter), I am happy to announce the address of the Elta-Rhine Twitter hashtag - #Eltarhine. Chia Suan Chong, who I met at Besig in Paris tweeted from the workshop yesterday and I am personally planning to finally join Twitter on return from my holiday. So if you are already a twitterer (or is it tweeter?), then you can join the Elta-Rhine tweet too!

We were sorry to announce that the event planned for September in Sankt Augustin was cancelled, or at least our participation in it as a group was. This is due to: a) lack of bookings from members and b) lack of a committee member to be there and coordinate it. Please let us know if there was a particular reason why you didn't sign up, (e.g. the location is difficult for you to reach, you are not interested in being part of a webinar, copyright is not an interesting topic for you).

Our next event will be on October 20th from 2 to 5 pm at the Alte Feuerwache in Cologne and will be a moderated ideas swap shop with plenty of time to ask questions of each other, discuss all kinds of issues and get inspired by other people's ideas, lesson plans, strategies and tricks. Please be prepared to share some of your favourite ideas and if materials, such as photocopies, are needed please bring a few copies with you. We are looking forward to having a lot of fun sharing and learning from each other.

We will also have a book swap shop as part of the event and you can bring both English-language-teaching related books and others not related to teaching (e.g. English novels you've got no space for on your bookshelves). However, at the end of the session you will need to take away the books you brought that no one else wants!

To register for this event, please click here and enter your name as you want it to appear on the certificate.

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On Saturday November 24th we again have a big-name speaker coming, Scott Thornbury. He will give the following very interactive workshops:

English grammar is (a) easy (b) difficult?  

Language teachers spend a lot of time teaching "tenses", and coursebooks suggest that the tense system in English is both intricate and opaque.  In this talk Scott will attempt to simplify the traditional model, by first distinguishing between tense and aspect, and then suggesting ways that a simpler, more elegant system might be applied in practice.  

This is followed by

Grammar or speaking? Or Grammar of speaking?

Can you learn to speak without grammar? Can you learn grammar without speaking? Is there a special grammar of speech? What's the best way to learn speaking? In this workshop Scott will address these questions, with specific reference to fluency, accuracy and (syntactic and lexical) complexity, including a look at the way these factors might be quantified. He'll also propose an instructional model for the teaching of speaking, and demonstrate ways that speaking and grammar can be integrated.

To register for this event, please click on the link and enter your name as you want it to appear on your certificate

Can I remind you again that if you book for an event, we print out an attendance certificate with your name on it and organise drinks etc. for the booked number of attendees for breaks, so could you please cancel if you change your plans? Many people signed up for the last workshop and simply didn't show up!

Another date for your diary is Saturday, December 8th, when we will have our Members' Day and annual Christmas party. Details to be announced.

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ELTA-Rhine Activities

The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu

Book Group Selection July 8, 2012

A whole season has passed since the ELTA Rhine Book Group last met at Graham Sutherland’s for an afternoon of nibbling and a leisurely wander through the world of hairdressing, family feuds and honor, love, betrayal, forgiveness and the hatreds that flourish in the complicated political world of Mugabe’s failed nation.

The narrator, Vimbai, was the most sought-after stylist at the Khumalo Hair and Beauty Treatment Salon – the self-proclaimed “queen bee” – until Dumi came on the scene and dethroned her. “He worked quickly, like an artist working on a living sculpture” – and transformed not only hair but lives - not a likely candidate to become her new best friend!

If, at this point, your eyes are beginning to roll and you are thinking – “just another vapid bit of chick lit – think again. It is a good tale, the characters are engaging, there’s a fair dollop of romance and a lot of humor. However, the issues Huchu explores with this novel - greed, the devastating fall-out of jealousy, the nature of “respectability”, self-righteousness, and violence, both domestic and political - are anything but superficial.

Our lively discussion ranged from racism to romance, homophobia to the history of the Commonwealth, morality to murderous rage. Most of us – including this reviewer – loved the book at many levels. It’s good reading – but hardly just a bit of fluff. Nor, despite the serious and very contemporary issues it raised, is it a polemic. Rather, in the best tradition of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy - it inspires fear and pity in the reader for characters who suffer reversals of fortune resulting from hamartia - human frailty – their own or that of others. At the same time it does not leave readers wallowing in their own misery but rather “causes [them] to feel humor and joy and experience a catharsis.” Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon any time of year.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Hormann

P.S. At the fall meeting of the book group – October 28 at 16:00 - we will be discussing Isabelle Grey’s “Out of Sight” at Ulla Roth’s

Sintherer Straße 23, 50829 Köln (Bocklemünd) Tel. 0221 / 503175


(easily reached by public transportation)

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Come, Sing with Us!

I know, I know, you're thinking that you couldn't think of anything you'd less like to do on a Sunday evening in late autumn...

But wait... There's hot coffee and tea from the inimitable host, Graham. There's some kind of little Leckerbissen (sweet and soothing), and a relaxed chat. Enough to warm the cockles of your heart.

Then... there's the singing - which, they say, is the reason we meet on these cold wintry nights. And it's always fun - learning new pieces, figuring out the Latin conjugations or getting our tongues around Gallic pronunciation. It's all Greek to most of us.

And you feel so good afterwards, that you don't even notice the unsavoury conditions as you wend your way home again, whistling...

So, do come and join us - you won't regret it.

Upcoming rehearsal dates: 11th November 2nd December

For more information, please contact:

Davine Sutherland

02203 / 3266

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Optimizing Lesson Preparation using the iPad

Kay von Randow

I’ve been using several Apps quite regularly now, for a variety of aims, and the one I’d like to introduce here – Popplet - is not only simple, but can be used to produce a diagram or chart extremely quickly. I use it for lesson ‘props’.

Popplet is a simple tool for iPhone/iPod Touch/ iPad, available from the iTunes App Store, current cost €3.99.


There are 7 pastel background colours plus white, with stronger versions of the colours for the borders of each square/rectangle (cosily called Popples). You can draw freehand (I’d recommend a stylus inside each Popple) in the same colours, but text (from the keyboard) is always black. Photos and images can be imported into the Popples (eg. Noun/Adjective/Verb/Adverb Popple)

Popplet a.JPG


The developers recommend it for brainstorming, exploring and collecting your thoughts, planning projects and making a Scrapbook or Photo Album. As you can import photos or your own designs into any of the Popples, you can make your worksheet really attractive. I use it when I want to create a clear, simple chart to be written in (e.g. the Small Talk chart) but not for presenting information. It isn’t an App of great beauty, but it capably produces clear graphic organisers. I actually only use it on the iPad, as I like to design big rectangles/squares and you lose the overview on a tiny display.

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The finished charts can be exported as email attachments in JPEG and PDF format to your computer, and then printed. There is also the possibility to export your Popplet to the online site where it can be added to by your students.


This is a quick, simple tool to create a simple and effective chart. It is extremely simple to use and can produce a finished chart in the time it takes for the coffee machine to run!

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Welcome to a new regular column in the ELTA-Rhine Newsletter. Björn Sauerhammer introduces us here to his favourite websites for teachers. We hope you’ll find something of use!

5 Useful Websites for ELTA Members


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Linguee is a unique translation tool combining an editorial dictionary and a search engine with which you can search through hundreds of millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions.

What are the benefits?

Linguee offers numerous benefits compared to other online dictionaries:

- It contains approximately 1,000 times more translated texts

- Single word translations are displayed in a clear, user-friendly structure

- Linguee offers a great variety of contextual translation examples

- translations for expressions such as "strong evidence", "strong relationship" or "strong opinion", and even for rare expressions or specific technical terms are also available.

- Its interactive user guidance facilitates the translation search: just move your mouse across a translation - matching example sentences will be displayed instantly

- The frequency of a translation is displayed and the most common translations are highlighted

- The source of a sample sentence is shown as a link below it

How do I use Linguee?

You can use Linguee as a dictionary - or as an internet search engine. Just search for a word or expression. On the left hand side, you will see clearly arranged vocabulary from the dictionary, and on the right hand side, you will find sample sentences that contain your search word or phrase as an exact or similar match. In general, it may pay off to search for several words at once, e.g. "in his role as" instead of just entering "role". This way, you will be able to find more examples of a contextual translation.

Attention! Linguee is more useful than an automatic translator

This is why you cannot translate complete texts or webpages with Linguee. Automatic translators may help you get the gist of foreign language texts. However, in many cases they are not useful for looking up vocabulary, and you cannot rely on the quality of the translations generated; a machine cannot understand the subtleties or contexts of language. Linguee takes a different approach: every entry in the Linguee dictionary has been translated by humans. If you need a translation but don't have a human translator at hand, using Linguee will help you make the best possible translation.

Where does the text content come from?

The majority of the sample sentences you see on the right hand side are from the bilingual web, particularly from the professionally translated websites of companies, organizations, and universities. Other valuable sources include EU documents and patent specifications.

A specialised computer program, a web crawler, automatically searches the internet for multiple language webpages. These pages are detected automatically, and the translated sentences and words are extracted. The texts are then evaluated by a machine-learning algorithm which filters out the high quality translations for display. This system is capable of autonomously learning new quality criteria from user feedback to tell good translations from bad ones. It has found out, for instance, that a page is usually machine translated if it contains the word "Wordpress", while many words are literally translated. Through this training process, the algorithm is continuously learning to find thousands of such correlations and reliably extract the best. The computers of Linguee have already compared more than a trillion sentences. At the end of the day, only the top 0.01 per cent, i.e. 100 million of the translated sentences, are retained.


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Not a teaching website but my favourite site for doing the yearly tax return. I like it for these reasons:

- It is compatible with Mac OS. For some reason the official ELSTER Software provided by the Finanzamt runs only with Windows®. Using Steuerfuchs is a good way around it. Cheaper and a lot easier than installing an app on the Mac that runs Windows®.

- Good value, it costs only 14,95€ for the yearly return.

- It is web-based. With your login you can use it from any computer and it is updated automatically taking into account new legislation. If data protection is important for you there is also the possibility to download the latest version and to fill in your return offline

- Intuitive user interface

- It is recognized by the Finanzamt. Once you have filled in your return it can be sent directly via SSL Encryption to your Finanzamt.


Website lingle.jpg

Lingle is a very useful tool that helps you to create lessons based on current newspaper articles.

- Good choice, there are more than 200,000 articles in the database and it is updated daily

- There are also articles from English language newspapers published in non-native speaking countries, such as China Daily

- Vocabulary and grammar are analysed automatically

- Texts are classified based on the CEF

- The website is able to automatically generate exercises based on the text

- Free trials for 1 month available

- €40 per year afterwards


Website designer lessons.jpg

A nice website for innovative lesson ideas maintained by George Chilton and Neil MacMillan, who are based in Barcelona.

- Ideal for student led communicative lessons that focus on natural language

- All levels from pre-intermediate to advanced

- Lessons for young learners are also available

- Also includes lessons that prepare for the following exams: Cambridge FCE, CAE, CPE; Trinity College

- Subscribe to their Twitter feed @designerlessons


Website language point.jpg

This is a site that not only provides you with lesson ideas, but also with resources, discussions on topics relevant to ELT and lots of useful tips:

- Searchable index of resources

- Resources include not only lessons, but also audio files, videos and free pieces of software

- Discussions on various topics relevant to ELT

- Many useful tips that improve your day-to-day life as a professional ELT trainer

- Teachers are able to upload their lessons and to distribute them to a wider audience

- Very good for resources on current news items

- Subscribe to their Twitter feed @marie_sanako

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'Book Review - Global Elementary'


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Dear members,

The following titles are currently available for review. The most recent title that fits our feature articles on exam preparation is Fit für TOEFL from Hueber (number five on the list). Don’t forget the Fit for FCE, from the same series released last year (number six). We’ve also got a couple of readers from Cornelsen (Lernkrimis) and a copy of Vocabulary – Englisch nach Themen.

If you decide to review a book, we provide criteria to help you with writing your review and the book is yours to keep after reviewing. This is a great opportunity to keep up-to-date with all the teaching materials out there and will benefit those of us who are always looking for new books to try out in our classes. The reviews also help other teachers to choose new books for courses or their schools. So please do not hesitate to contact me (email: with your name, address and the desired title and I will gladly post it to you.

Karina Kellermann

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Global Elementary Workbook with answer key and audio CD

By Rob Metcalf

ISBN: 978-3-19-382980-1

Level: A1/A2

Price: €6.49 (online)

Additional Materials: Course book, class Audio CDs, e-workbook, Teacher’s book and resource disk, Global Digital for classroom use



The book contains black and white photographs and has ten units. Some of the topics include: numbers, news & weather, schools, film & TV, family & friends, body, sports and food & drink.

The grammar treated includes present simple, present perfect, present continuous, past simple, wh-questions, comparisons, superlative, infinitive, if-sentences, phrasal verbs, adverbs, quantifiers, and countable & uncountable nouns.

A few comments about different activities:

Reading: Students learn interesting facts about life in different countries. The small texts help students gain confidence in understanding written English, and they encourage them to ask questions or to engage in short conversations, especially when the class is international.

Furthermore, the tasks encourage students to write short paragraphs with their limited vocabulary. From Unit 4 onwards, the texts contain a small glossary.

Grammar: Word-Order exercise - One of my favourite tasks, as it teaches low level students language structure and at the same time it reviews vocabulary almost automatically. My students liked doing these exercises.

Listening: Good to encourage correct pronunciation and get students used to understanding the different accents of English speakers from the beginning, just like in real life.

Preparation needed:

If you have a large class of about 20 students and you want to do grammar, then you’ll have to prepare more exercises as there are only four to six for each topic. It would make sense for the publisher to provide extra photocopiable sheets with exercises based on each grammar topic treated in the book (as PDFs to download). Unfortunately, as it is you’ll have to make them yourself.

However, if you just want to do reading or listening comprehension, you practically don’t need to prepare anything at all.

Tips & Ideas:

Class Audio CDs

The Audio CDs are an essential part of the course book, but I have used them on their own with A2/B1 students to practice listening comprehension before moving on to B1.


The Global Website offers a lot for teachers: Resources, blog, teacher development with interesting downloadable lessons on Mobile Learning including a video, podcasts, and the possibility to try Global by downloading parts of the coursebook, listening materials, teaching notes, part of the teaching book and scope & sequence.


There are e-lessons called Critical Eye with PDFs to download (teacher’s notes and image), literature postcards with many exercises (for more advanced students) and international wordlists. Mobile Learning and Online Learning: Students appreciate interactive exercises. Global offers Global Digital for interactive whiteboards and Global for learning platforms (Moodle), which students can also access anytime, anywhere via mobile phone or tablet.

Global is not just a new book, it is a new way of teaching & learning!

Anabel Nowak 2012

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Training Page Autumn 2012

ELTA Christine.jpg

Teacher Development Courses

I hope you had a great summer and plenty of time to relax. Now that summer’s winding down, it’s time to get back in the swing of things.

Why not take a closer look at my list of online and offline teacher development courses? You might find the perfect course for you.


Bell is offering an Online Delta

Starting 9 October 2012

Pilgrims offers a wide range of teacher training courses in Canterbury. I’ve chosen two for you here. You’ll find more on their website with all details.

Using Technology in the Classroom Level 1

14 – 20 October 2012

Creative Methodology for the Classroom

14 – 20 October 2012


Skylight offers a number of highly professional train-the-trainer courses in Cologne. I can highly recommend the “Coach Approach”.

Coach Approach for Business Language Trainers

29 – 30 September 2012

Intercultural Skills: Building Bridges Globally

15 December 2012

The Consultants-E offer a wide selection of online training and development courses for teachers of English. Take a closer look at their website for more courses and all details.

E-Moderation: A Training Course for Online Tutors

01 – 30 October 2012

Cert ICT: Certificate in Teaching Languages with Technology

03 October 2012 – 06 March 2013

Cert IBET: Certificate in International Business English Training

03 October– 19 December 2012

mlearning in Practice

01 November – 12 December 2012


20 November 2012


LTS training and consulting are offering two five-day courses in Bath.

Certificate in International Business English Training

10 – 14 December 2012

Developing Intercultural Training Skills

26 – 30 November 2012

Just a reminder that International House offers CELTA and DELTA courses and online training.

Teacher Development Interactive offer online courses for ELT professionals.

See you in the next Newsletter then.

Christine Burgmer

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Publication Information and Details


ELTA-Rhine Newsletter

Newsletter of the English Language Teachers'

Association - Rhine, e.V.

Vol. 32 No. 1, Spring/Summer 2018

The ELTA-Rhine Newsletter is published electronically three times a year in March, July, and November. It is sent free of charge to our around 240 members and several further organisations and individuals who take an interest in our work.


We are always glad to receive contributions on any subject related to the aims and activities of the Association or of interest to its members, but the Committee reserves the right not to publish either articles or advertisements which it feels run counter to the best interests of the Association and its members. Under normal circumstances we can only accept contributions in electronic format. If in doubt, please email the Newsletter editor before sending. Help with administration and editorial assistance is always welcome.


We also welcome advertisements. All advertisements are, however, published at the Committee's discretion. The advertising rates for the web-based Newsletter range from €50 to €280, depending on size and placement within the Newsletter. Please contact for more detailed information.

Advertising copy should be sent in electronic format. Please contact the Newsletter editor before sending large graphic files.

The deadline for contributions for the next Newsletter (Late Summer 2018) is Sunday, 12 August 2018.


All payments for ELTA-Rhine should be made to the following account:

Postbank Köln

BLZ 37010050

Account No. 402521502

ELTA-Rhine takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this newsletter, or for errors in either form or content. ELTA Rhine also takes no responsibility for any external links published in this newsletter.

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