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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 3; Issue 1; January 2001


Welcome to the first issue of HLT in the year 2001, the January edition. I hope the variety offered by this bumper-sized collection of thoughts, activities and reports will stimulate you.

The major article this time is an introduction to Linguistic-Psycho-Dramaturgy, the brilliant approach to teaching adults that Bernard Dufeu has developed and fine-tuned over the past 24 years. Bernard's short article summarises half a lifetime's intensive work, which has included giving himself a full training as a psychodramatist, and work on many other therapeutic approaches, including Gestalt, Primal Scream, and, a little quizzically, NLP. For those of us who work in the methodology of language teaching, Bernard's book Teaching Myself was, arguably,the most important book to appear in the past decade, at least in my view. Has it been even noticed by the " Main Stream "? Maybe, in passing. Is it quoted by your average applied linguist? After all, said person is good at quoting snippets of text.

HLT 2001 offers you two new sections:

  1. The Seth Column; in this Seth Lindstromberg will comment on methodology and language matters that strike him. He has called this series of short pieces Now and then against the Grain. In this issue he will tell you about downloading filmscripts from the Internet for use in your classes. Seth was the editor of the 17 titles in the Pilgrims-Longman Teacher Resource Book list , a list that includes Creative Grammar Practice, by Puchta and Gerngross, Business Recipes, by Bonnie Tsai and Musical Openings, by Cranmer and Laroy.
    Seth shaped and midwifed all these texts and is one of the most quietly influential people in UK EFL. Through HLT, you have regular access to his sensibly humanistic thought.

  2. The second new section in HLT this year is Teacher Resource Books Preview. In this section you are offered a selection of exercises from a forthcoming book of practical, classroom activities, a sort of foretaste. This Issue it's Sheelagh Deller's book of exercises that involve the mother tongue in the learning of the foreign language. Common sense, you may say, but not yet flavour of the month in many parts of the world. We know from feedback to HLT and from surveys that other teacher mags have run, that practical classroom scenarii are by far the most popular part of such periodicals. As editor, I may be proud of sections like Student Voices but many readers go straight for the exercises. So we will have more of them.

Under Short Articles you will find a wide range of topics ranging from how to deal with difficult people, entitled Zerofying, to how teachers from one's childhood remain a permanent influence, see the article Nuns, or my training to be a Teacher. Caroline Moore from B. Council , London, lets us into the thinking behind the new B. Council web-site for language learners in her article LearnEnglish Website, while Anna Franca Plastina shows how poetry can leap into life in secondary school classes.

There has never been a wider range of articles in HLT than in this Issue.

Don't miss the moving page of humanistic thinking in Maria Eduarda Cardoso's discussion of how exactly an exercise worked in her class of 15-16 year olds, The unlock Feeling Exercise, No.6 in Lesson Outlines.

If you live on that Southward pointing tongue of land with Lappland in the North and Lund down at the bottom, opposite Copenhagen, don't miss this month's Student Voices, which describes a daring experiment in student autonomy, so dear to the Nordic heart. You can read these Italian students' very positive reactions to being suddenly left in a teacherless situation.

An Old Exercise introduces you to the thinking of Saxon Menne on how to help students to master some of the techniques of rhetoric. His book, Writing for Effect, is, to my knowledge, the only one of its kind in our field.

I wish to thank Donald Freeman of SIT in Vermont, USA for the column he wrote through the year 2000 on teacher reflection, a sequence of pieces that you can read by clicking back to January 2000, under Major article. The marvellous thing about a web'zine, Donald, is that your excellent work last year is just as current as the writing in this Issue. HLT is a growing archive of humanistic thought and action.

Having thanked Donald, may I also thank all the 200 plus people who have written for HLT since the start in Feb 1999 and who have made this tiny place on the galactic Web into the success it is gradually growing into.

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