Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The sharp end...

Expand Messages
  • Pete.
    Hello Doggies, Some of you may remember I posted last year re: Dogme Style DELTA ; belated thanks to those who replied with help and advice... Since then I ve
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1 3:19 AM
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      Hello Doggies,
      Some of you may remember I posted last year re: 'Dogme Style DELTA'; belated thanks to those who replied with help and advice...
      Since then I've been lurking and been enthused, amused, stimulated and motivated by what I've read over the last year or so. Hopefully, somebody out there can help with the mire I find myself in at the moment...
      Basically, I moved back to London after 5 years EFLing around the world and blagged a gig teaching ESOL in an FE college. I say 'blagged' as the job spec required a B.Ed, PGCE or Cert. Ed. Armed with my hard won DELTA however, and chock-full of buzzwords (inc. 'Dogme'...), I got the job on an hourly-paid basis and now find myself up to my neck in sh*t creek, out of my depth and having lost both my paddles, (have I metted enough mixaphors yet..?)
      The basic problem is that this isn't the fluffy world of EFL that I'm used to with motivated students who pay for their classes and give some respect based on the fact that you're a fount of knowledge re: English. My students are all 16-18 year old asylum seekers/refugees who've been in England for around 3/4 years, (they're from Iraq/Iran/Somalia/Sierra Leone/Ivory Coast/Zambia/Kosovo - in fact, pick a civil strife ridden country...). They've had a couple of years secondary education in the British state school system but drowned in it; hence they've been kicked out at 16 with no qualifications and a whole heap of coping strategies. These involve never letting anyone know, (particularly your teacher), that you don't understand - and never mind your perfectly formed concept-checking questions. Violence - mainly verbal - is an accepted communication technique, concentration is at a minimum, and 'front' or 'attitude' is all...
      Fluency is most definitely not a problem - they can diss each other in the most varied (and, it has to be said, most amusing), ways imaginable. My main problem seems to be 'engagement' (not in a military sense - that's all too easy...). I'm supposed to be working on their language accuracy and an ill-defined beast known as 'Life Skills'. The latter involves preparing students for survival in the 'real world' which, in one sense (that of 'street life'), they're all Ph.Ds...
      The current situation is this; I've built up a rapport with all my classes, can get their attention with EFLy games/activities and have connected with them on a personal level. The problem is where to go from here...I'm not so old that I can't remember being 16 myself and I'm fully aware that the problems I'm having would be the same with any group of 16 year olds anywhere in the world, (though perhaps without the conversational gambit that opens with 'your mother'...). I've asked other teachers/my head of dept. for advice but as 'new boy' I'm becoming aware that these are the 'problem' classes that no-one else wants for precisely this reason - no-one's sure exactly what to do with them. In fact, I've recently discovered that I'm the 5th teacher in 6 months for some of these students, (a badge of pride for a couple of the classes...). By the way, the classes are all mixed level - some students are Elementary, some Intermediate...
      So, what am I exactly asking for?
      Does anyone have any ideas about how to work on accuracy with highly fluent students? (Fluent in 'Street', elementary in 'Formal').
      How does one introduce the idea of working on interview/presentation techniques with people who're more interested in not getting stabbed on the way home (this isn't the most pleasant part of London...)?
      How can I integrate things that do engage them (music/sports/the opposite sex) into a very 'dry' (and government directed) curriculum?
      As the concentration span is fairly brief, what techniques can I employ when approaching project work?
      Has anyone else been in a similar situation and how did they approach it?
      Finally, I'm aware that this post might be unconnected with the EFL world that most doggies (including myself until recently), currently work in. On the other hand, there's a wealth of knowledge/experience out there that I'm desperate to tap into. I guess that a lot of you have had so-called 'problem classes' and I'm hoping that the strategies/techniques you adopted are applicable to my situation. I'd be pathetically, grovellingly grateful for any help anyone can give - perhaps there are teachers out there who've found themselves making the move from EFL to ESOL and encountered the same 'challenges'...
      I don't want to be Miss Jean Brodie or Mr Chips, but I don't want to live in The Blackboard Jungle everyday either...
      Thanks in advance for any help/advice,
      Pete
      P.S. - There are no coursebooks, so I can be as dogmetic as I like...






      ---------------------------------
      Yahoo! Mail - For a better Internet experience


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dennis Newson
      Pete, Your job sounds one hell of a challenge - immensely worthwhile and down-to-reality, but I can t pretend I m not relieved that it s your challenge rather
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1 3:56 AM
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Pete,

        Your job sounds one hell of a challenge - immensely worthwhile
        and down-to-reality, but I can't pretend I'm not relieved that
        it's your challenge rather than mine!

        What was that about a government syllabus? Mislay it.

        You've clearly got to have your students with you all the way
        otherwise nothing is going to work. How do they see it? What do
        they want you to enable them to do with their English? You make
        it sound as if they might ask for the English of prostitution,
        gun-running and drug dealing. Accuracy? What do they need that
        for? Have they asked for it, or have your masters decreed that
        this is what they should be given?

        It sounds to me as if you need a real project, and not an arty-
        farty, do-gooder one, either. Can't you - I don't know - set up
        a couple of workshops (not academic ones) for ... recycling
        second-hand furniture, repairing electrical appliances, running
        some kind of club and get them involved in all the English that
        that involves?


        Dennis
      • Renata Suzuki
        Dear Pete, Amazing you and what a challenge! Falling asleep here Dennis suggestion floated in my brain: You ve clearly got to have your students with you all
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 1 6:38 AM
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Pete,

          Amazing you and what a challenge!

          Falling asleep here Dennis' suggestion floated in my brain: "You've clearly
          got to have your students with you all the way
          otherwise nothing is going to work. How do they see it? What do
          they want you to enable them to do with their English?"


          And I thought, exactly, exactly.
          And then I remembered about how I didn't have a clue what I wanted at that
          age, in terms of jobs or life goals, or anything, no awareness about what my
          skills were and how I could make them work for me.
          I didn't know how to assess the world around me to see how I could take
          control or make it do what I wanted, I just functioned flawlessly and pretty
          passively on the conveyor belt. You mention " a whole heap of coping
          strategies","..in one sense (that of 'street life'), they're all Ph.Ds..."
          Perhaps that's what they're doing too, only the surroundings and
          expectations are different to mine.


          I think what I'm trying to suggest is perhaps reading a book like "What
          color is your parachute?" which explores career choices and personal
          strengths.

          Or a kind of project whereby you research various professions and what
          skills they require with lots of fieldwork and interviewing to expand an
          awareness of what is on offer, what it entails and whether they might like
          it.

          Possibly you could talk about your own life and career choices and how you
          made them, how and why you are coping with your life now, sort of be a
          positive role model...(Naive, Renata? )

          How about exploring their rich and diverse backgrounds, do they define
          themselves as/want to be English, or British, or Zambian, or refugee, or
          ethnic, or world inhabitants or aliens or what?

          As in helping them to set goals and clarify where they are, who they are and
          what they might want to achieve, how they can achieve it. And dogme is all
          about supporting and aiding autonomy, as I understand, (Tom's learning to
          learn and Luke's paddling in the language ) and since you say you've been
          using it then you are indeed well equipped.


          Of course Dennis' advice is paramount, you can't be thought of as preachy
          and patronizing...but you say you already have established rapport, and
          there you go!

          I'm sure there will be plenty of useful, perhaps more concrete hints pouring
          in as the day wears on.
          Well, I'm back to sleep, wishing you the best of luck with your budding
          students.

          G'nite,
          Renata












          Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          ADVERTISEMENT





          To Post a message, send it to: dogme@...
          To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: dogme-unsubscribe@...

          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jay Schwartz
          Hi Pete & everyone, Firstly, good luck to you Pete! As I m sure you will hear many say you are in for both a challenging but potentially rewarding experience.
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 1 2:23 PM
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Pete & everyone,

            Firstly, good luck to you Pete! As I'm sure you will hear many say you are
            in for both a challenging but potentially rewarding experience.

            I first started teaching English to small groups of mixed-ability and
            multi-cultural Students in Miami. They were all immigrants and primarily
            adults 18+ years of age. Thankfully, I didn't have a 'dry government
            syllabus' to contend with, but I did have a 'suggested' grammar syllabus to
            'tick off' (you may interpret 'tick off' both ways!). We did a lot of work
            with newspapers as well took field trips. Yes, the order of the day was
            teaching 'getting along in life' skills. I've also worked with a lot of
            16-18 year olds here in Greece.

            I think you're on the right track with personalized tasks... but they are
            still tasks. Somehow the tasks need to become more than just tasks. They
            have to develop a life of their own. Same thing with project work. It has to
            be meaningful and perhaps even student inspired and created. Ask them! They
            might suggest something like creating the story line for a video game, music
            video, etc.

            The days I 'mislaid' the grammar syllabus were usually spent discussing
            grammar or expression related 'life skill' items. At one point, when the
            students were comfortable enough with me, they began bringing in vignettes
            of the frustrating situations they encountered outside of the class in which
            they couldn't express themselves or were confused. When the classes finally
            took on that 'we are all in this together' feeling, there was much
            discussion not only on what to say and how to say it, but also the
            underlying social issues. The classes ran the gamut from ESL to group
            therapy.

            I'd also venture to say that if you really want to succeed with this class,
            you'll have to do your homework (probably more than they will), be a good
            listener and become (if you aren't already) a reflective teacher. Play the
            psychologist. Go home at the end of the class and keep a journal of who said
            'what' and 'why' (and if you're into NLP don't forget 'how' :). Keep notes
            of student interests as well as turn-ons & turn-offs and so forth. Simply
            put: it's not enough to who they are and where they are coming from, you
            need to know what's in their head.

            Here are a few quick thoughts/suggestions/ideas:

            Music: Why do boring canned listening exercises if they would prefer to
            listen to Eminem, Panjabi MC, Dr. Dre and Snoop 'DOGME' Dawg?
            Here's one idea if they are into rap (especially Gangsta Rap): Play some rap
            music they bring in. Tell them you have a real hard time following what the
            lyrics are or are about. Can they please write them down for you? Have the
            students compare their lyrics. Even if they have most of the lyrics correct,
            with rap music there is always room for interpretation. Ask them to read the
            lyrics to you. Feign confusion about understanding them. Ask them what that
            means in PLAIN English. Have them explain or translate it for you. Discuss
            the story line, etc. Can they improve on the story line? Can they translate
            that back into rap? Can they perform it to the music? I assume you can do
            the same with Heavy Metal. If you are doing rap.. whatever you, don't
            mention "Vanilla Ice".

            Interviews: What kind of interviews do you want to do. Job interviews? They
            probably won't be that motivated to do an interview for an imaginary job
            they could care less about in the real or worse would not be qualified for.
            Do you know what kind of jobs they would like to have? Find out. Go with
            what ever they suggest and modify the task accordingly. Would you go to an
            interview for a job you wouldn't want?

            Use an alternative interview format. Let them be someone famous (or perhaps
            as you seem to imply infamous) like celebrities or sports figures or
            themselves (because of something special they did) being interviewed by a
            magazine reporter. First the students discuss and decide who they want to
            be. They must then justify their choice. Besides the oral work, it also
            helps the 'interviewers' to form questions. Let them be who they want to be.
            no censoring! In groups, have the students develop interview questions and
            compare. Have them justify their questions to the class. they should make
            amendments as appropriate. Alternatively, have the interviewees develop
            questions they would like to answer themselves. Finally conduct the
            interviews and then discuss the answers to the questions. Ask the
            interviewers what the interviewees had to say. Ask for class comment.

            For extra-motivation, tape their interviews - this gives it a semi-real
            feeling. I've had better luck with hand with student motivation using hand
            microphones rather than the built-in types. It gives you the real interview
            experience. Using your thumbs might give some students mixed signals! Of
            course the tapes can come in handy later for other exercises.

            Just a note on having students be someone else: As communicative teachers, I
            know that we are forever trying to put our students into a 'real word'
            context. But, perhaps kids of this age and disposition have enough of the
            real world already. They might not be happy with who they are or where they
            are in life at present, and your class can be a real escape for them.

            For writing tasks: Contests. Keep and keep them on the lookout for contests
            in magazines (Guitar world, Rolling-Stone, Sports Illustrated, Guns & Ammo,
            etc..). There are a lot of magazines offering prizes for short essays on
            "why I want to win" or "who is my hero.." etc. There is motivation, there is
            context, etc. Don't forget to send the essays in. Make sure the students
            understand that YOU WILL send the essays in.

            Lastly, but most importantly I think in terms of fostering a safe and
            positive environment for them is: Listen and Don't Judge!

            - Jay

            PS. Renata, good luck to you to with your new job!
          • lifang67
            Dear Renata: Thanks for the tangent, which was not tangential at all. It s obviously relevant to the problem Diarmuid raised about cultural expectations in the
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 1 3:36 PM
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Renata:

              Thanks for the tangent, which was not tangential at all. It's
              obviously relevant to the problem Diarmuid raised about cultural
              expectations in the classroom (Confucian, Socratic, or otherwise).
              And it's relevant to a distinction I'd like to make between "given"
              cultures(national, tribal, of which we are the passive excreta)
              and "emergent" ones (which, given half a classroom chance, we have
              some say in creating).

              First of all, let's think about greetings. For the most part, these
              are so formalized as to be devoid of content: people do not really
              think of health when they say "How are you?" (and in fact the
              earliest occurence of this in Howatt's "History of ELT" is clearly in
              a business context). The use of the greeting "Peace be with you"
              neither increases nor decreases during this time of war here in
              Korea, and it is not SEMANTICALLY true that Chinese greet each other
              with "Have you eaten yet?"

              A somewhat more interesting property of greetings (for me)appears
              rather formal. But in fact it isn't. Take the problem you mentioned:

              KOREAN: Where are you going?
              AMERICAN: Huh? Uh...well...I'm going out, you see, because I have an
              appointment with a man I met yesterday about a problem we were
              discussing the day before with a...

              This is partly a misunderstanding comparable to getting a health
              check in reply to "How are you?". But it's also simpler than that: a
              mistranslation. The real greeting is:

              KOREAN: You are going somewhere.
              ANOTHER KOREAN: Yes, I'm going somewhere.

              What makes the it a greeting is precisely what makes it non-
              threatening. Reciprocity. The level of generality remains the same;
              the level of informativeness remains the same.

              I think this principle of reciprocity is very extendable. It's
              explicitly realized in language. For example, it's discoursal:

              AMERICAN: How are you?
              ANOTHER AMERICAN: Fine. And you?

              grammatical:

              ARAB: As-salaam aleikum.
              ANOTHER ARAB: Wa aleikum as-salaam.

              even prosodic:

              TEACHER: Hello, everybody. (DOWN intonation)
              STUDENTS: Hello, teacher. (UP intonation)

              Viewed in this way, almost anything can be friendly rather than
              threatening, including all the material that passes in so-called
              Confucian cultures as friendly mutual interest, but it considered too
              nosy and intrusive in Western classrooms (e.g. marital status, family
              composition, salary, etc.) And vice versa (weekend activities,
              breakfast, etc.).

              The cardinal rule is not YOUR rule or MY rule, but reciprocity. The
              reversibility of the roles of questioner and answerer. (The same is
              even true of an issue as apparently personal as names; I dont know
              about Japan, but in Korea some learners have taken to reversing their
              family and given names and wearing them in the Western way so as not
              to confuse teachers. It confuses me, and I am thinking of introducing
              myself as Kellogg David in revenge.)

              Now, in the real world (the world where Pete's learner's live) these
              roles are not reversible. Policeman, prosecutors, and Home Office
              thugs ask questions; demonstrators, criminals and immigrants answer.
              So called "real" cultures (that is national, tribal, even familial
              ones) have non-negotiable roles. Alas, this is not infrequently true
              of classroom roles too, and it's pedagogically disempowering in
              obvious ways.

              The result is plain on the faces of my freshmen; they can understand
              all the questions, they can answer "yes/no" or "a, b, c, or d", but
              they are powerless to ask questions, and they have long since figured
              out that, in the classroom as elsewhere, he (at this level, it's
              usually a he) who asks the questions calls the tune (who pays the
              piper be damned).

              But of course it don't have to be like that. To a certain extent, any
              classroom culture is not "given" but "emergent". The classroom (the
              language classroom) is one place where roles are reversible, and
              culture is creatable.

              That's doubly true of my students, and it even extends beyond my
              classroom. My kids will ALL be elementary school teachers, in about
              four years time. That means THEY will ask the questions. But that
              doesn't mean that they will create the culture.

              The culture has to be something that will interest their kids. And
              their kids will be Koreans, but not very thoroughly socialized ones;
              mostly they will just be kids. So maybe they will be interested in
              something to do with breakfast and computer games and fun-filled
              weekends. Maybe not. What interests the kids will emerge. IF there is
              a place in the conversation where they can take control.

              And this gets me back to the point I was making about the non-culture-
              boundedness of critical thinking and crit pedagogy in general. To me,
              it's a lot about the reversibility of roles (which is why Jeff's
              remarks were--perhaps deliberately--completely off the wall). That
              means it's not about CULTURE with a big C, but only culture with a
              little c.

              Let me give an example. My wife (Fang again) began her illustrious
              academic career in the "Criticize Confucius and Lin Biao Campaign" in
              1972. This was, as the name suggests, an attempt to link a movement
              in "critical pedagogy" with the murder/assasination of Lin Biao, once
              head of China's secret police. Fang, scion of three generations of
              textile workers, was required to produce an essay on how the dead
              hand of Confucius had produced a stultifying educational atmosphere
              that had resulted in people being judged on their "class credentials"
              rather than real abilities.

              Fang was seven years old. Her mum had not yet finished middle school.
              So her mum asked a shopmate to write the essay, and he copied it
              dutifully from the latest party newspaper. Soon Fang was launched on
              a political career, reading her brilliant work at mass meetings all
              over the city. She still laughs to think of the thousands of
              assembled people hanging on her every word, and smiles when I talk
              about critical pedagogy.

              dk1

              PS: Oh, Pete. You know, wierdly, in 1991 I was briefly in a situation
              a little bit similar to yours. It was after the Beijing massacre and
              a group of Chinese refugees had gone underground to avoid deportation
              somewhere in London. Once a week I would meet with them and teach
              them English.

              I went assuming that they were like the activists I'd left behind in
              China--terribly Occidentophile, intellectual, and articulate. In
              fact, they were much more interesting than that; they were what would
              be called today "economic migrants" or maybe "bogus asylum seekers",
              and rather resembled your kids (only less cocky, because on the lam).

              I don't really remember what I taught them, but I remember two
              activities that went over a treat. One was a game of alibies that was
              based on the scenario of a "white marriage". Two of the kids had to
              pretend to be married, while the others interrogated separately about
              the details of their partner's wardrobe and bedclothes in an effort
              to trip them up and deport them. The other, actually, was a mock
              trial in which one of them was being tried for libelling another
              (he/she had used a bit of very juicy English similar to the ones you
              described). This was very VERY successful at raising the level of
              formality. Just a thought or two!

              d
            • Sue Murray
              coming in a bit late here, but Pete s situation and all the related postings are at the heart of dogme (and, as Diarmuid suggested, also at the heart of
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 2 1:51 PM
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                coming in a bit late here, but
                Pete's situation and all the related postings are at the heart of dogme
                (and, as Diarmuid suggested, also at the heart of education).

                a lot of things in Pete's original posting have been richly addressed, and I
                don't want to repeat what's already been said (though I probably will a
                bit).

                One thought is that their 'defences' -

                >These involve never letting anyone know, (particularly your teacher), that
                >you don't understand - and never mind your perfectly formed
                concept-checking
                >questions. Violence - mainly verbal - is an accepted communication
                >technique, concentration is at a minimum, and 'front' or 'attitude' is
                >all...

                - could (though maybe not!) be a tough nut to crack in Pete's desire to
                develop accuracy (especially as they're mainly so fluent) even though it
                really seems as if Pete is 'getting there' in all other respects (even if
                from their point of view rather than Pete's own!)
                Perhaps written work could help here??? Even working towards a letter to a
                local or national newspaper or net publication about street violence in
                their
                area or a specific incident. Or a local 'what it's like living here' guide
                or specific aspect rundown, (which are things that appear on a number of
                sites - local area sites also linked into 'bigger' sites - and include 'Joe
                Public' contributions). Or a music review that can be posted somewhere.
                Or start their own mag. That type of thing. Maybe. Just a thought.

                > How can I integrate things that do engage them (music/sports/the opposite
                sex) into a very 'dry' (and government directed) curriculum?

                I have no direct experience of such curricula, but everyone I've known who
                does have experience says, as Diarmuid and Adrian have said, that they're
                much more flexible than they might seem; (perhaps 'newbies' tend to
                take them too seriously/literally at first sight ....??) So, when Dennis
                says 'mislay it', interpret it accordingly .....
                and the obvious things can come
                in handy (and perhaps even get neatly fitted into the dreaded curriculum?)
                - old chestnuts such as finding opportunities for them to teach you about
                some of their passions and areas of expertise and knowledge (which can
                often also naturally lend a slightly more 'formal' aspect to the language
                too).

                And drama?? (whether with a small or big d; but it probably seems there's
                enough
                drama around as it is! - so a bit of 'make believe' can be a relief all
                round?)

                > As the concentration span is fairly brief, what techniques can I employ
                when approaching project work?

                the trick is letting them find/leading them to finding something that will
                really motivate
                them; so they care enough about the 'product' enough to get involved in the
                'process' ..... (whether it's a letter to a fan club, or a protest poster,
                or a personal
                statementmade via words or pictures; or whatever)

                > Has anyone else been in a similar situation and how did they approach it?

                A few years ago I spent 3 months solid working with 18/19 year old army
                recruits -
                they were military service - and they were only doing it at that age because
                they'd bunked out of school and were already working in their dad's
                contraband
                'firm', or they weren't eligible for any further education
                whatsoever (otherwise they get exemption from military service until they're
                in their mid-twenties or older - in which case they come in for the
                compulsory
                year as officers ...).
                There were 30 to a class, lessons were held in the
                barracks, and the atmosphere was pitiable (ie
                trumped up 25 year olds bossing these 'inferior' recruits around as if they
                were scum and punishing them with glee on the slightest pretext).
                This was actually the airforce division, and I remember, in my ignorance,
                asking them if they were learning about flying, and they dolefully told me
                that all they were learning about was cleaning floors ..... A lot of them
                were
                away from home for the first time, totally bamboozled, and homesick, sent to
                the southern depths of the peninsula for no reason they could really suss.
                Others were already well versed in the ways their own talents could develop
                in a real world, and just had to transfer their particular techniques of
                survival capitalism to another social reality; and some were really
                desperate - there were two stabbings during those months among the recruits
                themselves.
                At times it was scary, but I (and 3 colleagues) came out not only alive but
                also with a renewed respect for our fellow humans (well, perhaps not ALL of
                them....); also because once those 'kids' realized that we weren't there to
                order them about or say how things should be, and that what they said
                and thought counted just
                as much as what we said and thought, they (mostly!)
                kinda thought, well, we've gotta be here anyway, we're stuck with it
                whatever, so let's make the most of it ......
                (sorry, I can't resist this: would you believe that the school invested in
                over 400 English File 1 course books for these courses?? Needless to say
                ..... - though I suppose on reflection they did come in handy at times in
                the circumstances!!)

                My sister-in-law works 3 afternoons/evenings a week with 'rehab' teenagers
                (which basically means these kids are already considered to belong to the
                'criminal classes'). She doesn't teach language
                or any subject as such, let alone with curricula. She just has to keep them
                occupied and out of trouble and hopefully develop both their interpersonal
                and inventive skills via a thing that's loosely called 'crafts'.
                I remember her telling me how terrified she was the first time - surrounded
                by all these big seething guys with looks and language like daggers - and
                how totally amazed she was once they started
                doing things with their hands ..... you could have heard a pin drop;
                interest, absorption, creativity and who knows what else. The sessions are
                never always smooth all the time, but right from the beginning this was a
                gutsy girl who knows what she wants and needs to do and isn't afraid to go
                for it, at the same time as being aware of each individual in the group and
                caring about who they are, what they want to do and what they do do. They
                immediately felt 'safe' with her because - well, a number of reasons I
                expect: she's clear about what she thinks and who she is and why she's
                there; she's as street wise as they are and not afraid to use it; she's in
                no way a 'do-gooder' with unrealistic aims - she starts from where they're
                coming from, and shares her own ideas and skills to introduce
                new things to them; and she's extremely flexible and open and reflective
                within this framework of necessary 'authority'.

                Which to be honest sounds a lot like the impression I got from Pete's
                posting.

                keep at it, and hope to hear more!

                Sue

                PS: thanks, Halima, for the great piece on your 15 year old student and the
                Eminem song
                (not only, but also, an insight into the value of having someone in to
                'teach' both the teacher and the learner!)
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.