Информационное письмо English Language Office Посольства США в России

25 марта 2012

Информационное письмо English Language Office Посольства США в России

Umbrella Newsletter # 51

With a number of repeated requests in your e-mails “please re-send Umbrella Newsletter # 51, I must have missed it”, it occurred to me that it is time for the next Umbrella issue. I would like to thank everyone for the interest, loyalty and reminders.

Spring is ahead (hard to believe with a snowstorm outside) and so is change. Everyone is talking about serious improvements that need to be made to access quality education for everyone. This winter has brought new ideas, a transformational change with the new Apple intervention into the textbook market (see details below). And as always IT technologies draw attention of teachers: some take them as a panacea, some say that IT apps don’t oust what has been in use before, they allow you to revisit what has been tried but in a new, more accessible format – the path is spiral. In this Umbrella Newsletter you will find many links to useful resources. But before you open them, have a look at the quotation from the book recommended by Susan Barduhn on neuroplasticityby psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)”: “The irony of this new discovery is that for hundreds of years educators did seem to sense that children's brains had to be built up through exercises of increasing difficulty that strengthened brain functions. Up through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a classical education often included rote memorization of long poems in foreign languages, which strengthened the auditory memory (hence thinking in language) and an almost fanatical attention to handwriting, which probably helped strengthen motor capacities and thus not only helped handwriting but added speed and fluency to reading and speaking. Often a great deal of attention was paid to exact elocution and to perfecting the pronunciation of words. Then in the 1960s educators dropped such traditional exercises from the curriculum, because they were too rigid, boring, and "not relevant."   But the loss of these drills has been costly; they may have been the only opportunity that many students had to systematically exercise the brain function that gives us fluency and grace with symbols. For the rest of us, their disappearance may have contributed to the general decline of eloquence, which requires memory and a level of auditory brainpower unfamiliar to us now….; today many of the most learned among us, raised in our most elite schools since the 1960s, prefer the omnipresent PowerPoint presentation—the ultimate compensation for a weak premotor cortex.” But it is always the Teacher who finds the balance between traditional approaches and innovations. Quite possible new neural connections can be created quicker by the use of new apps…?

We have so much to share with you this time-  that is why we decided to prioritize information for you: urgent, high priority, routine, FYI


Elena and Natasha.



I.                  URGENT

  1. America Live through the eyes of your colleagues.

Every year a group of Russian teachers travel to the United States as part of the International Visitors Leadership Program.  This year's group arrived in DC in time for cherry blossoms and St. Patrick's Day.  Read all about their travels at their Group page(http://elt-russia.ning.com). Every day they post their photos and impressions. Lucky participants are:

Marina Pirogova (Blagoveschensk), Arina Annenkova (Irkutsk),Valeriya Evdash (Tyumen), Elena Nadtocheva (Yekaterinburg), Liliya Bondareva (Moscow), Yelizaveta Mazhar (Smolensk). They, as well as three more educators, Yekaterina Nechayeva (Kirov), Zuriyat Murtazova (Nalchik) and Yevgeniya Yadrikhinskaya will be participating in TESOL in Philadelphia on March 27-31.

Five more secondary school teachers of English who teach blind and visually impaired students (BVI): Gulnara Chumarina (Kazan), Irina Kazakova (Kirov), Olga Vorob’yova (st.Petersburg), Marina Kravtsova (Moscow) and Anna Dikova (Lipetsk) will complete their 10 day tour around Washington DC, Chicago and Florida next week.

You are most welcome to ask them questions and post your comments!


2. NATE Conference in Yaroslavl, May 24-26, 2012

If you haven’t yet registered to participate, please do it by filling in the registration form. http://www.eltrussia.ru/articles_14_198.html

Among keynote speakers there will be an IT guru Dr. Sean Conley. Here is his bio:

 Sean Conley is Associate Dean for Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro,   Vermont, where he directs several graduate programs and teaches in the MA in Teaching with Technology and the MA in TESOL. For the last decade his focus has been on the intersection    of technology and adult learning, examining the challenge of the digital divide, technology in the developing world, the open source software movement and the role of experiential learning and reflection in on-line and blended programs. He has taught on the faculties of The New School, The School for International Training and Tokyo Jogakkan College and consulted on TESOL and technology projects in Algeria, Japan, Korea, Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgystan, the Republic of Georgia and the UAE.  


II.               HIGHT PRIORITY

1.     TESOL Convention

Olga Minina, Access coordinator from Syktyvkar, together with Kamila Gogoreva (Moscow BVI school) will be presenting at TESOL convention this year – next week, actually.  They submitted a proposal on “Teaching English to BVI Students” and their proposal was selected.  This is a very inspiring example to follow!  Please see the info below and we encourage you to apply for TESOL 2013, the deadline is June 1. The TESOL 2013 call for participation is now available:  The TESOL 2013 call for participation is available for download here. Proposals are due Friday, 1 June, 5 p.m. EDT. If you would like to review proposals for the 2013 convention, you need to fill out a reviewer application . The deadline for reviewer applications is 20 April. TESOL members and nonmembers may submit convention proposals and apply to be reviewers. The 2013 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo will be held 20–23 March in Dallas.More


2.     iBooksAuthor – a new Apple revolutionary product – are you ready for that?


Everything is becoming iSomething these days. It is an interesting trend and here is what our IT friend Stefan Mizha has found for us:

"i- is not a generic prefix used to describe a type of service or product; rather, it is used in the branding of individual products. Whereas e-mail refers to electronic mail in general, iMail, refers to the e-mail applications created by Ipswitch, inc. The i- prefix is especially connected to Apple Inc., who employed it for their iMac and iBook and now uses many product names starting with i-, including iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iLife and others. Apple initially said the i stood for “Internet”. Source and further information:



And now major iProducts and how they shook the world during the last two weeks:




  • About two months ago Apple presented at the Guggenheim museum in New York City its long-awaited textbook announcement with something unexpected: iBooks Author, a free OS X program for creating books. The intent is really for teachers and other educators to produce educational materials. Now you can create your own interactive e-textbooks with ease, just drag and drop photos, videos and even Microsoft Word files into various templates. The authors will have total freedom in what they can offer, from animations to traditional graphics and text. Books now also support elements like indexes, glossaries, review questions, and turning highlights or glossary items into study cards. And all these readymade templates are offered for free. iBooksAuthor is  available for the Mac and only for iPads; there are now more than 1.5 million iPads in schools, colleges and universities in the United States.  Maybe before this wave reaches us, you will have already created your own textbooks? http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/




3.      ROUTINE

  1. According to our English language office in Washington D.C. Edgar Allan Poe is back to life. He’s now reborn as an audio book to accompany our title Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller. You can download the PDF as one document or by chapter and the audio files in segments or as complete stories. http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/resforteach/pubcat/classtext/alc/poe.html

Also, see the recently updated catalog for the full online publications list. Please check the links: 6 audio books and a NEW POSTER SERIES for our Sing out Loud Children’s Songs CD. Lots of other useful materials with downloadable content:


           The American English Online now has a new link http://americanenglish.state.gov

2.     More Possibilities for On-line Learning!

·         Applications for E-Teacher courses 2013 (description can be found at www.eltrussia.ruwebsite) are due mid-June. Please e-mail them to Natalia Fomenko at fomenkonv@state.gov.

·         “Exploring Web- 2.0” Course, facilitated by Michael Krauss, is scheduled for July. Please submit applications as soon as possible.

·         “Shaping the Way We Teach English” Webinars will start in mid April

Please submit applications before April 11th (just your name and e-mail address) to Natalia Fomenko.



  1. English Practice – Learn and Practice English Online here is another cool site for you http://www.englishpractice.com/ Practice English online for free. Learn English and improve grammar, vocabulary and reading skills. Get free ESL exercises, English learning help, and tips and to learn English!
  2. If you teach American Studies, one of the hot topics is the future elections of the U.S. President. You can find United States President Elections in Plain English at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HcZ4iYjT40

3.      ESL instruction videos teaching more than English on YouTube


  1. You might be interested in checking out Video Language Network. These free and fun video podcasts of everyday English expressions help enliven your classroom. And there are video podcasts that provide ready-made lessons for ESL classes. These podcasts consist of authentic English conversations, covering many interesting topics and all levels of English.
    Included are comprehension and vocabulary exercises, targeted language, points of grammarand more!

    Anita Evans is Your ESL Teacher
    click here or on the video to learn more about us




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