QualityTime-ESL

Introduction: Using the “Document Annex”

or How to Make the Most of this Digital Resource Book

“Hi, I am Marianne Raynaud from QualityTime-ESL. I am here to help you improve your spoken English.” That is the first sentence you hear on my series of podcasts Better Speaking Skills. Yes, my aim has always been to make my students feel comfortable when expressing themselves orally in English. And I think I have achieved my goal. I say this because so many of my former students have over the years written me to tell me about their high scores on exams such as TOEFL, London University, Cambridge First Certificate and even Cambridge Proficiency. These students were studying engineering, and most of them couldn’t speak any English at all when they started their first year at my institute. I can add that over the last ten years of my career every single student leaving my two-year course scored over 750 on the TOEIC and many scored over 850 and even 900. The TOEIC is used in most engineering schools in France as a prerequisite for graduating and obtaining a degree.

Numerous letters and e-mails thanking us

When I was close to retirement my young colleagues kept saying, “You must find a way to tell other teachers about your course.” They had seen, while working with me, how fast our students progressed thanks to the program we all worked on together as a team. I don’t have any way to scientifically prove that my method is valid, but I could show you all the numerous letters and e-mails I have received from students thanking me for teaching them how to give presentations, introduce speakers, debate on topical issues, pass international exams, and of course be successful in interviews for jobs where competence in English is required. I was also happy to see in anonymous surveys conducted by my institute that the team of English teachers scored the highest among all the faculty members. Finally, teachers in other schools in my region are currently using many of the techniques that I implemented over the years.

Methodology

Thus encouraged by my colleagues I decided to write a book, in which I would share with others the teaching materials of my intensive English course. I wanted especially to talk about the exercises and activities that gave us the greatest joy. I wanted to include examples of student work too. It would be a resource book to help teachers set up their own programs not a series of research papers or an analytical study of the learning process. I didn’t have any figures to prove the effectiveness of the techniques I implemented. I had no scientific way to convince others they should use my method. No, I only had my correspondence with former students and the memory of all those smiling faces in class. Moreover, I had kept most of the films my students had made. And I had my own films of students performing in class. The decision was taken: I would write a book that would speak of my enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of both my students and my colleagues. I hope the two testimonials from colleagues, who worked with me before obtaining tenured teaching positions at other universities, will prove to you the advice I give is indeed worthwhile.
When I first started writing, I decided I would have to be very specific and down-to-earth, in other words I would always show concretely the documents I wished to refer to. On calculating the number of documents I intended to include, I initially reached approximately 800 to 900 items and that was without the twenty odd chapters of explanations and the hundreds of examples of student work! I realized no editor would be interested in a 3,500-page guidebook for English teachers—especially a guidebook allowing teachers to photocopy as much as they wish. Furthermore, I wanted to include PowerPoint presentations, audio files and films with my students participating in classroom activities. I even wanted to include some of the films written, directed and produced by the students themselves. That was when I came upon the idea of offering a digital resource book with a digital Document Annex on a DVD. The present Document Annex contains over 1,500 files. All of these files can be read with open source software such as OpenOffice, which I encourage you to use. OpenOffice is free and can be downloaded from the Internet.

A big toolbox of teaching materials

This digital resource book is intended to help teachers set up a program. It is not a set course that teachers should follow page after page. It is more a great big toolbox of teaching materials that teachers can freely choose from. It is also includes numerous pages of instructions given to students prior to different activities. Most of these instructions and many of the teaching materials can easily be modified by the teacher, since they appear in MS WORD. My goal is to provide documents that will help teachers get started. Ultimately they will customize these documents, i.e. personalize them to suit their needs, and finally set up their own effective programs based on some of the principles I set forth. Since I had from the beginning the idea of providing teachers with transformable documents as well as examples of student work, the idea of a digital Document Annex suited my needs perfectly.

The advantages of the Document Annex

The advantages of the Document Annex were numerous. First, I could offer all the documents in the A4 format. These documents would thus be ready for photocopying. The teachers would not have to do any cutting and pasting with paper. Second, I realized I could have hyperlinks going from the text directly to the Document Annex, which would be another time saver for teachers. Third, I wouldn’t be limited as to the number of documents, so I could provide readers with a great many examples to choose from and even some examples of student work or recordings to go with the listening comprehension exercises or achievement tests. I could even include computer generated Review Sheets or PowerPoint presentations. Fourth, I could give teachers both PDF files containing ready-to-go exercises and customizable files in DOC, which the teachers would be able to adapt according to their needs without having to retype long passages. Finally, I knew I would be able to include some of the extraordinary films the students made on their own and with time I might even be able to add some of the films I had made of students interacting in the classroom. All this is today to be found in the digital Document Annex.

Different ways of using the Document Annex

The Digital Document Annex, which is included with this book, serves two purposes. Firstly, it gives the teacher the opportunity to see concrete examples of what I speak about in the different chapters. Secondly, it contributes to the main objective of this guidebook, which is to help teachers set up a language program of their own and produce the kind of personalized booklets or workbooks I speak about. The fact that it is a digital resource book makes it easy for the teacher to find the documents I refer to. Teachers just have to click on the hyperlinks in the texts as they read the twenty odd chapters of the book. Whenever they find activities or explanations of assignments they wish to include in their own booklets, they can thus access them directly from the different chapters, print them out and use them as they see fit. Allow me, though, to point out this system of hyperlinks is found in many chapters but obviously does not exist for the more general chapters such as Learning from Others or Respect vs. Authority where I do not refer directly to any documents.
There is a second way of using the Document Annex. Teachers can choose randomly the documents they are interested in by consulting the Index of Links. In this index I have listed the hyperlinks by chapters. Having chosen the name of a particular file, teachers can open up a chapter and then use the search motor of their computers to find the place where I speak about the document.
There is a third possibility, which gives direct access to the files. Teachers can go directly to the Tree Structure in the Document Annex and choose the materials they wish to use. If they proceed in this way, they have the possibility of going into the Index of Hyperlinks to see if I have dealt with the particular file they have chosen. If that is the case they can then use the search motor of their computer to find my instructions or advice. I wish to add, however, that in the book QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book I have of course not spoken about all the documents included in the Document Annex, because there are simply too many items. They have been included to give teachers the opportunity to make personal choices.
There is yet another way to proceed. You can use the file, which is called QualityTime-ESL_Book_in_Single_File and just search for a particular activity, grammar point, or idea. Of course it is also possible to type in the name of a file from the Document Annex to see if I have spoken about it.

How the hyperlinks work

To understand how the hyperlinks work, readers can start by looking at some examples of the material, which will be explained later on. If they are reading on the computer the chapter dealing with listening comprehension and are looking for an oral comprehension exercise, they just need to click on the hyperlink (cf. When_The_Iceberg_LC.pdf) to get a fill-in (cloze) exercise with questions. They may get a warning about the file but should proceed since there is absolutely no danger. If they click on another reference (cf. When_the_Iceberg_Key.pdf), they get the key to the cloze exercise, and finally by clicking on an MP3 file (cf. When_the_Iceberg_Continuous.mp3) they open up the recording in a continuous reading of the corresponding exercise. A second audio file exists for the listen and repeat recording (cf. When_the_Iceberg_Listen&Repeat.mp3). It may take a few seconds to open the files, but the computer will access them directly from the pages of the book. Of course teachers can also go on their own to the tree structure of the Document Annex and choose the successive folders 05_Oral_Comprehension / Narratives / When_The_Iceberg. By opening the latter they will find the same files concerning “When The Iceberg Arrives”.
Here is another example. If teachers wish to find some verb review fill-in exercises, they just need to click on the “Review of Tenses” reference (cf. Review_of_Tenses_1-6.pdf), and six different exercises will appear ready to be printed in a booklet. Occasionally teachers will have to change the zoom or make other adjustments depending on their software but there is no danger in opening these files. To correct these exercises according to the active pair work correcting technique explained in the chapter dealing with pair work and group work teachers just need to click on the reference to the keys (cf. Review_of_Tenses_1-6_Key.pdf) to get all of the keys. And I can give you a third example. I speak a great deal about testing in this digital resource book. I have an entire chapter devoted to testing, in which I have included numerous examples of tests with keys. These are end-of-term exams or exams to be given during a term.

An effective entry test

At the beginning of a school year or a new term teachers often need to evaluate the level students have obtained to place them in groups corresponding to their skills. I have an excellent entry test that I have been using over the years. You give out a two-page document (cf. Yr_T1_Entry_Test.pdf). You have the students work on it for about thirty to forty minutes. Then you show or read off the right answers (cf. Yr_T1_Entry_Test_Anwsers.pdf). By the way, the students correct their own papers, which actually saves time. In less than an hour and a quarter all the students have a score. This score has over the years proved to be most reliable. The students can write their scores directly onto the cards you have them fill out with personal information. You type the scores on the computer, and straight away you can make up your groups.
Actually to tell you the truth I do not go entirely by the scores of this 40-minute test. Although this short test is surprisingly accurate, I believe it is best to put students into groups where they will feel the most comfortable. So I look much more at what the students say about their own levels. To standardize a bit these levels I put a slide up indicating different levels from “Beginner” to “Advanced”, and I explain what these levels mean (cf. Personal_Estimation.pdf). Then I ask them to write on their cards the category they think they best belong to. They are also asked to indicate the number of years they have studied English. With these three criteria—test, personal estimation, and number of years of study—I feel I am in a good position to make up my groups, which I can do on the computer or simply by shuffling around the cards. There is more about such options in future chapters.

Customizable or Adaptable files

I hope by now you have some idea what this digital resource book is all about. However, I have so far indicated only PDF documents that cannot be modified. Teachers may be interested in including a short introduction to the English course in their personalized booklets or workbooks. In that case they can click on a customizable or adaptable file, and they will see on their screens a two-page document in MS WORD, which they can download, modify as they wish, and then print up for their students (cf. Yr1_Course_2pg_Objectives+.doc). Please note that when using “+.doc” files, teachers may have to change to “page mode” for the text to be displayed properly. There is another more detailed explanation to be found in another document for students (cf. Yr1_Course_4pg.pdf for the PDF version and Yr1_Course_4pg_Detailed+.doc for the modifiable MS WORD version). I have also included versions of the same documents in French. This has been done for teachers in French speaking countries, who need to explain to their administration what kind of course they are planning to set up (cf. Yr1_Cours_Fr_2p_Objectifs.pdf for the PDF version and Yr1_Cours_Fr_2p_Objectifs+.doc for the modifiable MS WORD version).

Curriculum writing

A two-page curriculum for the first year course might inspire teachers needing to write out a syllabus or course curriculum (cf. Yr1_Curriculum_T1.pdf). The latter is a PDF document, but there is also a modifiable one-page curriculum for the first term of the first year course (cf. Yr1_Curriculum_T1+.doc) in case teachers wish to add, take away or modify any parts. And in a different section there is a one-page curriculum for the second term of the first year course (cf. Yr1_T2_Curriculum+.doc), which once again teachers may use for inspiration or modify as they so wish.
I suggest readers take a look at the suggested calendars, which are available both as examples in the PDF version (cf. Yr1_Calendar_Example.pdf) and as work documents ready to be used as digital calendars (cf. Yr1_Calendar_V1+.doc a version in blue and Yr1_Calendar_V2+.doc a version in yellow). Do not forget to choose “page mode” to be able to display the calendar correctly. Teachers will easily understand how to change the dates when they start a new year. This is done by copying the numbers of any column (with 31, 30, 28, or 29 days) and replacing them starting with the right day of the week at the top of each column. In this way one teacher or a team of teachers can produce an updated calendar and a study program in less than an hour.

The QualityTime concept—a PowerPoint presentation

I trust readers are now beginning to see how they will be able to effectively use the Document Annex while reading this digital resource book. The great thing is the fact that I have been able to include files such as PowerPoint presentations, audio recordings or even short video films in this Document Annex. Readers are invited to watch one of several PowerPoint presentations. The first PowerPoint presentation I recommend is on the QualityTime Concept, which can be accessed simply by clicking on the hyperlink, which follows (cf. QualityTime-ESL_Concept.ppt). Advice: If you have trouble closing the PowerPoint document, use the yellow button to put the file in the dock and wait until you shut down the computer. Or use the ESCAPE key.

Student projects using PowerPoint

If teachers wish to have students do projects using PowerPoint, they can read the chapter on oral presentations in the classroom and click on the numerous hyperlinks, which are offered. First they will see an example that I have done myself based on information concerning the global warming threat that might very well endanger the environment in the years to come (cf. Global_Warming.ppt). Advice once again: If you have trouble closing the PowerPoint document, use the yellow button to put the file in the dock and wait until you shut down the computer. Or use the ESCAPE key.
Secondly, teachers can look at presentations put together by some of my former students. Here are two examples chosen almost at random among so many interesting projects (cf. Project_Robot_Rabbit.ppt, Project_Palm_Island.ppt). Teachers can also go directly to the tree structure and choose the examples they like the best. They can search for all the PPT files available by using the search engine of their computers and then choose the one they would enjoy showing their students. Of course it is best to refer to the chapter on oral presentations (Chapter 14: Oral Presentations) where I explain how I introduce the project activity and how I prepare the students linguistically for their classroom presentations during several sessions by using a listening comprehension exercise and a written vocabulary exercise. Together with these exercises the students receive documents which explain in detail the requirements of the oral presentation (cf. Project_AssignmentPPT.pdf / Project_AssignmentPPT+.doc) plus others where I give additional advice (cf. Project_Extra_Advice.pdf / Project_Extra_Advice+.doc). As I explained earlier on, the files ending in “+.doc” can be modified by the teacher using them. Allow me to say once again that these instructions are best used when combined with the special oral comprehension exercise “When the Iceberg Arrives”. It is composed of a fill-in exercise with a vocabulary list and questions (cf. When_The_Iceberg_LC.pdf), a key for self-correcting (cf. When_the_Iceberg_LC_Key.pdf), and a file with the audio recording of the text (cf. When_The_Iceberg_Continuous.mp3). To make sure the students are properly prepared ahead of time there is also a written fill-in exercise on the same theme (cf. Will_Deserts_Drink.pdf) with of course a key for self-correcting pair work (cf. Will_Deserts_Drink_Key.pdf). All this is explained in the chapters dealing with pair work and group work dynamics and in the chapter on oral presentations.

Short student films

To switch to a completely different activity I will say that if teachers wish to motivate students to make short (1-minute) films based on scripts they have written on their own, there are several video examples available. These short films can easily be shown by using a video projector linked to a computer. Since it may be difficult to access the films found in the Document Annex directly, there are no hyperlinks. Instead teachers should go to the tree structure and open up different folders successively: 10_Student_Films / Car_Ads / Car_Ads_Selection_1. There they will able to find the one minute films made by former students of mine completely on their own. My only contribution was to correct the scripts, which by the way are also included in the Document Annex.

Car_Ad-1-Relax-divx.avi
Car_Ad-2-Hovercraft-divx.avi
Car_Ad-3-Chameleon-divx.avi
Car_Ad-4-Stitch-divx.avi
Car_Ad-5-Half-horse-divx.avi
Car_Ad-6-Health1.mpg or Car_Ad-6-Health2.mpg
Car_Ad-7-Hydrogen-divx.avi

Two types of files


As I mentioned above the Document Annex should make it easy for teachers to reproduce the pages of information or the activities they are interested in, since all the paper files are in A4 format. I wish to point out once again that there are two types of files. Some files are adaptable and can easily be modified (they are in MS WORD and end in “+.doc”) and other files are in PDF. The latter cannot be modified, and teachers are asked not to make any alterations. If there are any mistakes, I would appreciate teachers letting me know at the Web site http://www.QualityTime-ESL.com. An updated version of the file that needs correcting will be e-mailed directly. I have done most of this work by myself, and I am far from being a computer expert. For this reason, although I have checked everything, there are undoubtedly errors to be corrected. In many cases the files are meant as examples or models of what teachers can do on their own. The latter will be typing their own versions so to speak. For this reason I feel less concerned about the occasional mistake or typing error that may be found. The main purpose here is not to provide teachers with professional teaching materials like those published by the press, but rather to show teachers the materials that have made up my course over the years and the thinking that went on when setting up this program.

Modifiable files

Coming back to the distinction between the PDF files and the modifiable ones, readers can easily tell the difference between the two types of files that are offered. The customizable files end in “+.doc” and have been written in MS WORD. There are over one hundred and fifty files of this kind. They can be adapted directly in accordance with the needs of the teachers. These “+.doc “files generally deal with the program i.e. the core curriculum or with the calendar of activities. They also give students advice about preparing a good tutorial, a good PowerPoint presentation, or a talk in front of the class. The fact that these “+.doc” files can easily be adapted implies the teacher will be able to customize his/her instructions or better still the instructions of a team working together. For instance, teachers can change the name of the school, the number of hours of English taught, and even eliminate or modify whole paragraphs. I have provided these customizable files, because I wanted to make my course documents adaptable even for teachers who might have constraints, which require alterations of the original documents. If at all possible, I ask teachers to keep the footnote QualityTime-ESL.com at the bottom of the pages instead of erasing it, particularly since this digital resource book has been written to ensure communication among teachers thanks to this mark.

The QualityTime-ESL team of teachers

Furthermore, concerning the mark Copyright QualityTime-ESL, teachers should not at all feel they are just copying available files. Instead they should consider they are part of the QualityTime Team, which is true since by using these documents properly they are adhering to the principles of effective teaching and the techniques of Enhanced IST (Enhanced Individual Speaking Time), which are set out in this book. They can actually tell their students they belong to the team. Furthermore, teachers are invited to contact members of the QualityTime Team at our Web site. They can, in actual fact, join the team of members or even become a contributing member.

Preparing booklets and fortifying team spirit

The basic idea of QualityTime-ESL is to help you get started providing you with teaching materials that really work. QualityTime-ESL is also intended to help you become more effective and efficient in your teaching and eventually be able to make your own materials suited to the needs of your students. It may be difficult for you to see in the beginning how to make use of the vast Document Annex. For this reason I have included what I call sample booklets (cf. Folders 12_Sample_Booklets). I have chosen from files explaining the course some suggested files that could make up your future course. All these files are modifiable in MS WORD. I have added files on tutorials with models and lists of requirements as well as files with grammar or vocabulary exercises in PDF. Teachers can add listening comprehension exercises from the Document Annex (cf. Folder Listening Comprehension). There is even a two-page Table of Contents for the sample booklets that can be modified as certain files are eliminated and others brought in (cf. 0_Yr1_Table_of_Contents+.doc). Teachers can of course add files of their own that do not come from the QualityTime-ESL Document Annex. The important thing is for the teacher to realize it is relatively easy to put together worthwhile booklets with bindings instead of giving out countless photocopies that are never bound together and that will inevitably become lost. Making up booklets together with colleagues will fortify team spirit and make the course more appealing and effective.

A tremendous waste of paper

During my entire career in France, I have seen a tremendous amount of unnecessary photocopying. Year after year the photocopying machines work at full speed. Why then don’t we propose real books to our students? For one thing, books are expensive and teachers do not necessarily find all that they wish to teach in one single book. Furthermore, even if teachers in France wanted to assign a book or a manual they would not be able to do so. University studies in France are supposed to be free. You must ask students to buy books. Consequently, most universities or engineering schools purchase one single copy of a book (a textbook or a book of exercises and they photocopy for their students the pages they find interesting. And this is perfectly legal, because the university has paid the fees so that the teachers may photocopy freely. Nevertheless, as a result thousands and thousands of separate papers are given out to students. Most of these papers are thrown away during the school year or at the end of the year after the exams. If the teacher has not published a booklet, which is bound, most of these papers will be lost. Such waste frightens and appalls me both from a pedagogical and an ecological point of view.

Complete freedom? Or strict control?

What attitude should we adopt? Complete freedom or strict control over photocopying machines? Should we ask teachers to write/produce their own textbooks? And if the teachers did so, would they be able to be published for such a small audience and what would be the price? Professors at the universities, who I admit have huge responsibilities in research and must supervise Ph. D. students, have comparatively few hours of teaching—three to four hours a week. And a great deal of experience. They can write textbooks for their courses. But the language teacher with up to twenty hours per week and much homework to correct does not necessarily have the time or the motivation to make up a booklet for his students especially if he or she is working. At some universities today all course materials are uploaded onto intranet sites. Intranet refers to a local network with access restricted to authorized people. That can be a solution. I even have a PowerPoint presentation to show you how such an intranet site works (cf. QualityTime_Intranet_Site.ppt). But this does not solve all the problems—in any case not for a language teacher—since the students have to do exercises. Now experts will say that students can do the exercises on a computer without paper and the computer will correct their mistakes. That is all fine and good, but I personally believe there must be some written paper trace of the work that has been done for real learning and permanent acquisition of language elements to occur.

The raison d’être of QualityTime-ESL

The raison d’être or main objective of the QualityTime-ESL project is to propose a digital resource book with a Document Annex enabling teachers to create their own booklets. With more than 1,500 files available to them, many of which are modifiable according to needs, teachers can quickly make up booklets, combining instructions and grammar exercises as well as models of CV or drawings by their own students. Moreover, I would like to say once again that any person purchasing this digital book with its Document Annex is free to make as many photocopies as he or she wishes.
Another important point is that the files of this book can easily be combined with other files taken from methods or directly from the Internet. Pages can be photocopied systematically in recto/verso to save paper. Once the photocopies have been made and bound into a booklet, these papers will become precious tools that the students will keep for a long time. My wish is that by using the documents and the advice of this digital book, ESL teachers will see that it is not so difficult to produce a booklet they can be proud of and that their students will be proud of too.
The advice is found in the dialog part, of this book. In fact it is a series of conversations with all the information I have given my young colleagues over the years. This advice is expressed in language, which is very easy to understand. Furthermore, most of the techniques I describe can be used both in schools where the audio-visual equipment is elaborate and in places where the tools are limited to the absolute minimum: just one computer and a printer.

A different student/teacher relationship

In conclusion I would like to say QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book is intended to show teachers an entirely different approach to the student/teacher relationship. There are numerous language exercises as well as documents specifying how students can perfect their presentation skills. As you can read in the two testimonials from former colleagues, my method/approach has incited former colleagues to ultimately create their own teaching materials based on the philosophy described in the book (cf. 00_I_Testimonials.doc). This is not a set method but a way of teaching that each person can progressively adapt to his or her own needs and personality. I hope readers will enjoy the following chapters and will quickly be able to copy from the digital Document Annex any documents, which could be of interest to them.


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