30 November 2008

Installing Hot Potatoes on a Windows PC

If you are planning to come to the workshop on using Hot Potatoes, and you have a laptop, we'd be really grateful if you could install the program beforehand on your computer and bring it along. That way, you'll be able to learn it by using it (Task-based learning, anyone?), which is a far better way of learning how to use a program than simply watching someone else and trying to remember.

If you don't have a laptop, or would rather not bring it to the session, you are, of course, still more than welcome to attend!

So if you can bring a laptop along, here's how you go about installing Hot Potatoes on a Windows computer:

Part I: Installation:

1) Go to http://hotpot.uvic.ca/
2) Look for the "Downloads" section around halfway down the page and click on Hot Potatoes 6.2 installer. A dialogue box will open; click on "Run".
3) After a couple of minutes, another dialogue box will pop up with the question "The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want to run this software?". Click on "Run".
4) Choose the language you want to use and click "OK".
5) A new box will open saying "Welcome to the Hot Potatoes 6 Setup Wizard". Click "Next" to continue.
6) You will be asked to accept the License Agreement. Basically it says that Hot Potatoes is free if you work in an educational institution and make anything you create using the software generally available by putting it up on the Internet (don't worry, we'll show you how to do that!). Click on "I accept the agreement" and click "Next".
7) Another box will appear with information about Hot Potatoes. This is purely for information; you don't have to agree to anything so you can just click "Next".
8) A new box ("Select Destination Location") will tell you where on your hard drive Hot Potatoes will be installed. Again, this is for information only so just click "Next".
9) The next box ("Select Start Menu Folder") tells you where it's going to place the shortcut. Again, you can leave that alone and just click "Next".
10) The next box ("Select Additional Tasks") will give you the option of creating a desktop icon and a quick launch icon. These will save you having to go to Start > Programs to start Hot Potatoes, so whether you have them or not is up to you. If you think you're going to use the programs a lot, you should leave "Create a desktop icon" clicked. If you expect to use it most of the time, click on "Create a Quick Launch icon", which will make the program start more quickly, but at the expense of making other programs run more slowly. Once you've chosen, click "Next".
11) Click "Install" and wait.
12) Click "Finish". Congratulations! You've installed Hot Potatoes! Now you'll need to register to get the full benefits of the programs.

Part II: Registering.

1) Start Hot Potatoes.
2) Click on Help > Register
3) A new box will open. Click on the button "Get a Key". Your web browser will open automatically.
4) You'll see a set of instructions for getting a key. First, click on the link that says "Please read the license terms".
5) Read the terms and click the box under the agreement that says "I have read the license agreement"
6) Complete the form at the bottom of the page (your name, email address and country of residence). If you don't want to receive emails from them, uncheck the box. Click "Submit".
7) Now check your email. You should have a message from hotpot@uvic.ca, which will tell you your user name and key.
8) Go back to the box that opened when you said you wanted to register Hot Potatoes. Enter your user name and key. Ignore the box that says "I am a network administrator" and click "OK".
9) A box will pop up to confirm registration is completed. Click "OK".

Congratulations! You've installed and registered Hot Potatoes, and you're now ready to start creating your own web exercises.

TESOL France workshop Dec 13 - Creating web-based activities with Hot Potatoes

Dear TESOL France member/supporter

Creating web-based activities with Hot Potatoes

December 13th 2008
2pm - 5pm (followed by the Annual General Assembly)
Télécom ParisTech

Led by Laurence Whiteside, and Sab Will, Editor of The Teaching Times and Blogmaster

Hot Potatoes is a suite of programs for PCs and Macs, to allow you you to create interactive exercises, including multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fills, for the World Wide Web. In this workshop, Laurence Whiteside and Sab Will will show you how to:

* create simple, interactive exercises with no technical knowledge,
* create more complicated exercises including images, sound and video files,
* put your exercises on the Internet.

We would like this workshop to be as "hands on" as possible. Therefore, we ask those of you who have laptops to install Hot Potatoes beforehand and bring them to the session. You can download Hot Potatoes from hotpot.uvic.ca. If you'd like some help doing that, email Laurence at lolwhites@gmail.com or Sab at grimfarmer@yahoo.com.

This workshop is FREE to current TESOL France members or 8 euros to nonmembers. To register, go to http://www.tesol-france.org/hotpotatoes.php .

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible there.

12 November 2008

David Crystal's Insight on Obama's Speech

Hey all you TESOLers,

Someone sent me this link of linguist David Crystal's dissection of Obama's acceptance speech. It's a very interesting read. Good insight for any speech writer (and teacher) to bear in mind.

12 October 2008

Wordia.com - the dictionary with a difference!

Here's an interesting new web site which I discovered this week. It's called wordia and is a dictionary with a difference.

As well as giving you standard definitions, this innovative site allows ordinary folks (like you and me) to upload our very own definitions of our favourite words.

These can be as straightforward or quirky as you like - the site doesn't seem to have an obvious commercial goal - and it's certainly fun to check out some of the videos.

The site was featured on BBC World last week and after I created a couple of vids and uploaded them I got a comment from the very guy (one of the founders) who had just been interviewed.

As we've been talking a lot about Web 2.0 and creating simple videos recently, this could be a great way to put your skills to the test. It's so easy it's not true!

You need:

a free Wordia account
a free You Tube account
a free movie maker (e.g. Windows Movie Maker on all PCs)
a webcam on your computer

You have to open your You Tube account but you don't load your video onto You Tube - you upload it straight onto Wordia, who put it on your You Tube account for you. They don't want any fancy editing or anything - just the raw video of you defining your favourite words.

Why not give it a go? I've done mini-vids for 'hotchpotch', 'because' and 'shit' so far - let me know what you think!

28 September 2008

Web 2.0 for Dummies (& English teachers!)

Dear All,

Many thanks for attending yesterday's workshop: 'Web 2.0 for Dummies (and English teachers)'
As I explained, the term 'Web 2.0' refers to all the popular web sites which have developed in recent years which create real communities of users and where you can share information easily with others.

The old 'version' of the web was more of an on-line dictionary or encyclopedia where you would go to find information, but not to contribute to it. Those uninteractive days are now far behind us and many of us enjoy 'uploading' information to the web for others to share, as we do 'downloading', or simply looking at information on our computers.

As promised, here is a list of most of the web sites I mentioned yesterday.

1) Web Quests
These sites tell you about the concept of setting up activities for students where they go looking for info on specific sites and then do something useful with it (not just copy and paste) afterwards. There are many sites with ready made models if you type 'web quests' into Google

2) Power Point

Although this Microsoft programme doesn't necessarily involve the web, it is an excellent teaching tool for professionals, because it can combine English with a vital professional skill. Here are a couple of interesting You Tube videos about PowerPoint. There are many more if you look for them.

Embed video into Powerpoint: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=5G2pkWK6mEc

3) Site Pal

Here you can create funny animated characters and make them speak with your voice (or your students) and send the link to them by e-mail. It's fun to play around changing the character's looks, clothes and background. And you can upload your own message too (1 minute maximum).

Here's one I created for free with the voice of one our our attendees at the workshop who has a profound message!

For a free try out go here and click on - Try our demo.

Well, that's all I have time for today folks. I'll put another set of addresses up later in the week.

Thanks for visiting and please leave your comments and questions here by clicking on the word 'comments' below.

26 September 2008

Blog Big-up!

As I type these words late on the eve of my Web 2.0 for Dummies (and English teachers) workshop, your latest issue of Teaching Times should be winging its way towards you (if you're a TESOL France member, that is).

Or maybe you picked a copy up at last Saturday's successful Cambridge Day event, where it was snapped up by lots of people, along with plenty of copies of Teaching Times 50, my first attempt.

So thank you to all who showed an interest in the TESOL stand, and a big welcome to our new members from that event too. Why not leave a comment here to say 'Hi' and introduce yourselves?

I was able to get at least three or four new contributors to the next issue of the magazine, so I'm well satisfied with that outcome.

I'm now preparing myself mentally and informatically for my workshop tomorrow, which aims to offer some in-depth insights into some of the great websites out there which we can exploit immediately in our English classes and hopefully impress our students to boot.

The plan for the afternoon is flexible, but roughly as follows:

1.45 pm - Registration, mingle and joint prayer that the internet connection works
2.00 pm - Introduction and presentation of useful and innovative websites
2.45 pm - In-depth discussion on specific websites of particular interest to attendees
3.30 pm - Coffee break
3.45 pm - Creation of new activities and sharing of personal favourites in small groups
4.15 pm - Presentation of ideas and personal techniques to group and general questions
5.00 pm - Fond farewells

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow if you're coming, and any comments on the latest magazine and ideas for future articles (and potential contributors) would be welcome too.


24 September 2008

The Teaching Times Word Quiz - Issue 51

The Wicked Word Quiz: 6 of the Best!

Win one of these superb advanced learners dictionaries from our generous sponsors:

Cambridge University Press
Heinle ELT
Pearson Longman

Oxford University Press will be coming on board next issue too!

Simply do your best to answer the questions below and four of you will win one of these great books. Send your answers to quiz@hotchpotchenglish.com and tell us which dictionary you'd prefer (but we can't guarantee you'll get it!).

Tell your friends and colleagues too please - and good luck!

Question 1
Translate this traditional French verse into Ingleeshh:

Un petit d'un petit
S'étonne aux Halles;
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! Degrés falles.

Question 2
What's a boustropheden? This is... (but can you explain how it works?)

must so plough oxen the
this be read As a pinball
rink tilted its down runs
and away with your money
words few these wind so
Wrestler thrown across the
rope to rope from ring
Wool unravelling Coil
skeltering Helter unwinding
Staircase spiralling Tiring
furrowing Brow Boring
Field unzipping
ox old Poor

Question 3
What is found between a hanging post and a banging post?

Question 4
Do you know which animals these pleasingly arcane words refer to?

a) ursine b) equine c) asinine d) saurian e) murine f) simian g) hirudinal h) hircine i) soricine j) corvine k) lupine l) ovine m) aquiline n) leporine o) leonine

Question 5
Name the musical origins of these famous food references:

- cool cherry cream, a nice apple tart
- tangerine trees, marmalade skies
- semolina pilchard

Question 6
Name ten everyday parts of the body with three letters - no slang or vulgarity pleeezzz!

Special Bonus Question
What does the name of this quiz, 'Six of the Best', originally refer to? Clue: something we would never do today, I'm quite sure!

Don't forget: send your answers to quiz@hotchpotchenglish.com - Don't post them here!

I'll post the answers (and the winners) on this blog before the next issue of Teaching Times comes out in November.

10 September 2008

Baby, come back!

Although it's possible to join TESOL France at any time of year, most of our members join in the autumn. So today we sent out reminders and membership forms to everyone whose membership has lapsed; expect them in the post in the next few days.

This year, as well as receiving copies of the Teaching Times and attending all our workshops and colloquium, members are entitled to a 25% discount on online teacher development courses with ELT Advantage. For information on the courses, go to http://eltadvantage.ed2go.com/eltadvantage/. To benefit from the discount, contact Eileen Fryer at Eileen.Fryer@contractor.cengage.com .

But these benefits are open to members only. That means if you're planning to attend Sab's wonderful workshop on September 27th, you need to sign up quickly! Just sign and return the form with a cheque (and it's still only 44€!) in the envelope provided, and we look forward to seeing you again very soon.

7 September 2008

New Workshop: Web 2.0 for Dummies (and English teachers!)

This is advanced notice of a workshop which I'll be running almost certainly on 27th September, 2008.

Here's the blurb:

Workshop: Web 2.0 for Dummies (and English teachers)
Sab Will, TESOL France Editor & Blogmaster
Date: 27 September 2008, 14h-17h
Venue: Paris Télécom

Following on from his successful presentation at the Best of BESIG Spring Day, and using a live internet connection, Sab leads you where few English teachers have gone before: right to the heart of the New Web. Discover how the average teacher can easily master and exploit some fascinating resources immediately with their students.

The idea is that we have plenty of time to show more examples and demos, ask more questions, and go into more detail on exactly how to use this amazing stuff in class.

Indeed, one of the main aims will be to combine my offerings with attendees' own experience to all get lots of new ideas and inspiration from the session.

So do book up and come along: the more the merrier!

If you have any questions then do leave a comment on this message and I'll answer it here so everyone can benefit.

See you there,

3 September 2008

Cambridge Dictionary Winners!

Hi Everyone,

This is a message especially for ten lucky new members who have joined us since the Attica Langues & Avenir event which was also the launch of the brand new look TESOL France Magazine, Teaching Times.

We broadcasted this great prize from the rooftops and the results were excellent!

Just to remind you, Cambridge University Press generously offered a great prize of the excellent new Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary (or CALD to its friends) to some of our lucky new members.

And the winners are, in no particular order... (drum roll please!)

Annie Delplace Smith
Jane Lueng
Agnes Bessières
Anna Barnet
Lisa Rubinstein
Elizabeth Anne
Anne Seror
Jackie Moon-Rigoulay
Curtis Bartosik
Alexis Glick

Well done, everyone, and a very warm welcome to TESOL France!

The easiest, and by far the most useful way to receive your prize dictionary, is to come to the Cambridge Day, which is being held in collaboration with TESOL France at our head quarters at Télécom Paris Tech (ENST) on September 20th (see details of this event on the right under the heading Upcoming Events).

The boring way to get your prize is to wait for Cambridge to send it to you sometime after this event! Leave a comment on this message to tell us if we'll see you at the Cambridge day, and well done again!


31 August 2008

Poster Sessions at the Annual Colloquium

At this year's Annual Colloquium (7-8 November 2008, in Paris), TESOL France is offering you the chance to present a poster session. Not sure what it's all about? – Read on …

A poster session is a presentation format with the following characteristics:

1. A small, relatively restricted topic or theme that can be introduced and explained in a short time
2. A poster (about 24" x 36") sitting on an easel that presents the most important points of the topic
3. A knowledgeable person who provides a short overview of the topic and answers questions
4. A handout that participants can pick up that contains additional references, links and information

Why give a poster session?

* It's a more informal way of delivering a presentation
* It's a quick and efficient means of communicating classroom / academic research or new ELT materials, etc.,
* It enables the presenter to have access to a wider audience
* It puts the emphasis on conversation among small groups of people.
* It encourages delegates to contribute their own experiences,
* It's a fluid format that is becoming increasingly popular at many professional conferences, blurring the line between the expert and the novice,
* It offers an initial presentation opportunity for a teacher wishing to participate in an international conference.

Why attend a poster session?

* It provides a greater diversity of topics to be presented in a shorter space of time
* It's a more informal means of viewing a variety of topics
* It allows delegates time to study and restudy the information presented
* It enables interaction directly with the presenter

When do poster sessions take place?

* Poster sessions will be allocated specific time slots during the TESOL France Annual Colloquium schedule – 30 minutes on Friday 7th Nov and 30 minutes on Saturday 8th Nov.
* Details about each poster session and their presenters will appear in the Colloquium Programme and on the TESOL France website, www.tesol-france.org

How can I take part in a poster session at this year's TESOL France Annual Colloquium?

Send the following to Ros Wright, ros_wright@hotmail.com by 30th September 2008:

1. a proposal (100 words max) describing the poster you wish to present
2. the dimensions of your poster
3. a biodata (100 words max)

Successful presenters will be notified by 5th October 2008

22 July 2008

Independent's Day

Ever thought about striking out on your own?

* What are the advantages and disadvantages of being independent?
* How do I go about it?
* When do I write to URSSAF?
* How much does it cost to start my own independent teaching service?
* I don't know anything about accounting, can I still do it?
* What are the alternatives?

Bethany Cagnol will share her experience with us in what promises to be a very informative and lively discussion.

Saturday, October 25th 2008
Université de Grenoble
This workshop is free to all TESOL France members.

Here's a little preview:

Working under a CDD / CDII contract and being an independent are already very similar. Here's why:
*We are used to fluctuating salaries;
*We are used to looking for that next 20- to 40-hour gig;
*We are familiar with fluctuating demand;
*We are used to juggling different timetables;
*We are natural multi-taskers;
*We, who are foreigners, know the joy of dealing with the French administration;
*We have job security through endless teaching opportunities;
*If you are good, word gets out.

What does it take to be independent?
* Patience * Meticulous Organization * Creativity * Tough gut
* Determination * Functional French * Pride + Ego * Humbleness
* If applicable, a supportive spouse, ideally French speaking

For those of you who are already independent: Do you agree with the above?
We also want to hear from those of you who have ever thought about striking out on your own.

21 July 2008

Teaching Tips: You Tube

Today's Teaching Tip is about a resource everyone has heard of but maybe haven't explored its full teaching potential: the truly amazing 'You Tube'.

There are at least a couple of reasons to call You Tube 'truly amazing'.

One is that many many people use this site every day, probably including quite a few of your own students. So it is something they will already familiar with and also very positive about. It's a really popular, fun site.

The second reason is that it's a limitless source of original and sometimes incredible visual and audio English language content which cannot be found anywhere else.

The age, personality and needs of your students will determine exactly what sort of videos will be most suitable.

I've used music videos with adolescents, car adverts with the boss of the same car company, instructional videos on giving Powerpoint presentations with managers and very short (30 seconds to 2 minutes) humorous videos with practically everyone.

Here's an example of the latter which was very popular at my recend Best of BESIG talk:

I send out links to these sort of videos regularly in my teaching e-mails (subscribe here) along with a series of three questions which students have to answer when watching, which can be as easy or as difficult as you like, for example:

a) What colour is Some Grey Bloke? (easy)
b) What's the 'punch line'? (more difficult)
c) Is Some Grey Bloke a good joke-teller? (why/why not - discussion point)

I give the answers in the next e-mail along with a new video quiz.

Have fun using You Tube with your students and do send in your questions or suggestions by using the 'Comments' link below.


20 July 2008

Proceedings from The Great Debate

Hi, Laurence here.

You may remember that on March 29th TESOL France hosted a debate on the CAPES and Agrégation. It was very well attended and certainly generated some lively debate!

The Proceedings are now available on the main website, so if you weren't able to attend, you can see what was said by going here, then clicking on the link to download the proceedings. It's a PDF document, so you'll need Acrobat Reader to see it.

Teaching Tips: Site Pal

Hello Again,

I've had many requests for the web addresses of the interesting resources I mentioned during my talk at the TESOL France - Best of BESIG day back in June.

So, as promised, I'm starting a series where I introduce them to those of you who weren't able to make it to Bethany's 'BOB' day and who, nevertheless would be interested in knowing more...

My first offering is the really cool Site Pal web site, which is a really funny and funky site which offers something genuinely intriguing for free.

You can use it in any lesson with your student(s) if you have an internet connection, or amuse yourself by creating messages and exercises for your students to do between sessions.

Here you can see one of the ways in which I exploit Site Pal. I create short listening exercises with the script on my teaching blog. I've included two examples - click on the images to listen:

As you can see, it's fun and motivating - when I showed it to one of my private students - the boss of a car company - he decided to use it for an amusing motivational new year message for his entire sales force. You can create a quick message for free.

Post comments if you need more info.


Last Chance for the Summer Issue !

Your new Teaching Times relaxed summer reading issue is on its way, so this is your last chance for magazine submissions and inclusions, folks! You can even send in a welcome comment to be included in the 'From The Blog' page. Don't fret about it - just get your typing fingers out and send us a cheery 'hello' - all contributions are welcome.

In any case, have a great summer and all of us here at the TESOL team look forward to hearing and reading you - do let us know your opinion on any of the issues we discuss - that's why we're here!


28 May 2008

TESOL France Web Quest

Note: this posting was created at part of Sab Will's interactive presentation at the TESOL France / IATEFL BESIG 2008 Spring Day event.
This event is now history, and so is this posting - please ignore!
Hello Business English Teachers...

Sab Will
Editor, Teaching Times

27 February 2008

TESOL France Great Debate: CAPES & Agrégation

We have a very interesting event coming up at the end of March:

The TESOL France Great Debate:

"Is the current concours system (CAPES and Agrégation) the best method for
selecting and preparing future English teachers in France?"
This event will take the form of a bilingual French-English round table followed by interventions from guest speakers from the floor and ending with a question and answer session.

The event has two main objectives:

  1. To facilitate an exchange between different groups of interested parties, representing different points of view on the concours system;
  2. To inform the public and to allow the audience to make a better informed judgement.
The event is free, anyone is welcome to attend, and you can get more details by clicking here.

As a little taster, feel free to take part in our monthly survey leading up to the big event, which you will find in the right-hand links bar on this page.


TESOL France does not, and will not, take a position on the concours system. Its role is limited to organizing the event, facilitating the discussion and ensuring that the discussion is equitable and that all sides of the argument are equally represented.

Sab Will
TESOL France Editor / Blogmaster

The Great Newsletter Survey, Part 1

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to fill in the survey - we were delighted with the response - nearly 50 of you completed the questions and the information you gave us is invaluable in helping us to plan the newsletter content and future events in general. So a very big 'THANK YOU' once again!

  • AND DON'T FORGET: One of you lucky respondees will be the proud owner of the superb new Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary just as soon as it's published - keep reading the blog to see if it's you!

And now to the results. As there is too much information to publish in one posting, I shall be posting summaries of each question over the next few days/weeks. So keep coming back to see what your fellow TESOL France members have got to say.

And most importantly, do feel free to post your comments on anything you see here by clicking on the word 'Comments' under any blog entry - that's what this blog is for!

Professions & Positions

In this part I asked you to give your profession and position. And what a marvellous range of skilled, motivated people you are! Just look at this list:

1. Business English Teacher/ Dean International Development
2. freelance teacher
3. Coach / Trainer / Musican. Freelance
4. Language trainer - English for Business
5. English teacher
6. teacher UFR Eco Gestion Amiens
7. chargé de formation
8. Company Owner
9. independant teacher
10. teacher (ingenieur d'études, enseignant chercheur) associate professor
11. Independant Legal English trainer
12. Chair, Business English Department , Clermont Graduate School of Management
13. Senior tranier
14. teacher (PRCE) at Université Paris Sud, Orsay
15. teacher
16. Independant trainer - in company
17. In-company English trainer
18. Freelance English coach
19. teacher
20. English trainer Langues et Affaires
21. English teacher at Lycée Saint Rémy, Soissons(02) Chair of English BTS International Trade, Head of English studies BTS Insurance
22. Director of English at an Engineering school in France
23. Head of English training
24. Teacher in FC
25. Freelance ESP writer and editor
26. Teacher in several schools and universities
27. self-employed language trainer, etc.
28. teacher of English at AgroParisTech
29. English teacher in a lycée + 2 TDclasses at the Sorbonne
30. Freelancer - Company founder
31. English language trainer
32. English teacher, Language Department Head
33. English teacher
34. English teacher - in a lycée, an IUFM, a collège, a private language school...
35. Maître de conférences, Fac des Langues, Amiens
36. Teacher of business English
37. teacher/translator - freelance
38. English teacher Ecole Centrale, Marseille
39. Teacher of English at an Engineering School
40. Teaching English English teacher to adults
41. Teacher and language department head
42. Professeur Anglais
43. Business English trainer
44. Formateur d'anglais pour adultes
45. english teacher
46. Teacher - Certifié - Education Nationale
47. language consultant, photographer, independent

If you're as impressed as I am, well, you'll be very impressed!

That's it for this posting. Coming soon: what you all had to say, and then we can get some discussion going.

TESOL France Editor / Blogmaster

27 January 2008

Welcome to the TESOL France Blog !

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to the new TESOL France Blog!

TESOL means 'Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages'.

TESOL France has been helping English teachers in France to develop professionally for over 25 years.

Now the TESOL France Blog will make it even easier and more enjoyable to learn and share your experiences with teaching colleagues from all over France.

We will be providing interesting news and stimulating discussion topics here regularly, and we encourage you and your colleagues to take part by clicking the word 'contribute' below.

Please let us know what you think of the TESOL France Blog or any other aspect of English teaching in France - we are here for that, and... happy English teaching!