Getting started (how I could overcome my disabilities)

1st project

2nd Project

I've been doing a training at ELTE on CALL, instructed by Nora Nemeth. This in-set teacher-training course takes a year; we spend every Thursday afternoon at the university, in the computer lab. First it was frightening and seemed to be far too difficult to understand anything, but Nora said to give it a try. And I did.

I've finished a course book with my senior group at the end of February so I decided not to start up with a new one but to try this new method of learning and teaching. It proved to be exciting and motivating both for the students and me. There are twelve students of mine in this group.

The Circumstances
At Puskas Tivadar Telecommunications Technical Secondary School there are quite good circumstances to start with. There is an Internet laboratory, a language laboratory and two other computer labs, both with multimedia access. We have a couple of CD-ROMs, two simple language teaching software and lots of students who are very much interested in computers and Internet. Most of them have some kind of exam in the field. I am familiar with word processing and Excel, can use the e-mail. During the course I am getting to know how to search the Internet and every Thursday - thanks to Nora - I go home with lots of ideas about using the computer for teaching purposes.

The First Steps
At the university Tamas Kokay introduced us the Oxford Advanced Students' Dictionary. I got to like it because of its many-sidedness. Very bravely I installed the two copies on two computers (unfortunately it cannot be used in network).

The first lesson
The exercises: I gave six-six words to look up to the students who were divided into two groups. They listened to the pronunciation and wrote one-one sentences to illustrate the usage. There were some words, which were illustrated with pictures or videos as well, so they tried out how it works. When ready they were allowed to try any of the four kinds of games. They had to learn the words as homework.

The conclusion: It proved to be useful because all the students learnt how to use the dictionary. It was enough for a lesson; they could do it during the time given. It would be much better to have smaller groups, two or three students would be ideal. The students further from the computer felt out sometimes.

The second lesson
I decided to try the language teaching software in the language lab. Since we were at the end of their regular studies it seemed not to be strange to give them multiple choice type grammar and vocabulary exercises. Tantal gave this software with the laboratory.

The exercise: I sorted out 50 exercises of different kind and gave them 40 minutes to solve.

The conclusion: It was too much for the first time because the students had to get used to the method. I should have tried the exercises myself in advance. The accepted answers sometimes were not the correct ones.

During these two lessons it became clear that the students like using computers and got motivated by the new way of learning. It was clear that I should make up a plan for the next couple of lessons. First it wasn't meant to be a project but it grew over the original idea. I am giving the outcome here.

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The first CALL project

Vocabulary Building with the Help of a Fresh Piece of News

  1. Reading, Understanding and Translating (2 x 45 min)
  2. Checking with Quartext, which is a total deletion type of language teaching software (1 x 45 min)
  3. Summaryzing, Simplification (2 x 45 min)
  4. Follow up

The First and Second Lessons

Reading, Understanding, and Translating


Three students were seated next to one computer in the Internet lab. I had put on a piece of news to their computers. I had downloaded this news from the Internet the previous day, so they could see how update the exercise was. I divided the news into three and every group had a different part. I have html exercise sheet. (There was a previous version in word format, so this lesson can be held without this html worksheet.)

The exercises:

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The Third Lesson

The organisation

We worked in a traditional type language lab, where I had installed Quartext, a total deletion type language teaching software. I loaded the original textof the news up. The students worked individually.

The exercise

The program (with its Hopscotch option) let me check if the students had learnt the words at home. Every fourth word was deleted and they had to type them in.

The program provided us with the result given in percents. I could have given marks but I didn't.


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The Fourth and Fifth Lesson

The organisation:

The students came to the lesson with their worksheet and I seated two of them to one computer. (They were provided with the completed, printed form of their worksheet after the second lesson.)

The exercises:

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The Sixth Lesson, Follow-up

We discussed which the best solution is and why. We were talking about the topic (drug testing in schools) itself and our project as well. We highlighted the difference between the spoken language and the journalism.

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How to use E-mail for Teaching Purposes

The first lesson

Preparation: I had a hand of a technician who created e-mail addresses for my group. In advance I sent a welcome message to them just for fun.

Organisation: Every student had its own computer and worked individually.

Exercise: They were instructed in the target language to make an address book, to create a group address and to write a message for the whole group about this very first experience with emailing. I am one of the group members so I could see their opinion and I was very happy with that.

Aid: Pegazus Mail program, suitable number of computers

Conclusion: There was no problem, the students enjoyed it very much and felt sorry for the other groups who do not have the same experience. I got to be called the best teacher.


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The second lesson

Preparation: I asked our native English teacher to send a message to the group and I responded to their e-mail comments myself.

Organisation: Every student had its own computer and worked individually.

Exercise: They had to check their mail. I asked them to reply to the native English teacher with a nice joke and to write to the whole group about their weekend. They had time to reply for some of these new messages.

Conclusion: Again, there was no problem and I started to find a partner group for them abroad. We are going to make up an e-mail project on a specific topic. It is going to be the customs in different countries for senior students.


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My second CALL project


It is a twelve-lesson project on finding and getting a job. It starts with getting to be familiar with the Internet.

The project consists of

The first lesson

Listening exercises, a modern song

Aim: To make the students interested in working with the Internet.

Skills: Listening, writing.

Organisation: I copied the lyric of Madonna's latest hit and prepared the text as a listening worksheet. I also prepared five sentences in the native language (Hungarian), which were structurally very similar to five sentences of the song. We went to the language laboratory. Every student sat separately, with a head-sat.

  1. We talked about the latest hits, their favourites and about Madonna's latest clip.
  3. They were asked to take notes of longer parts of the lyric while listening. I told them not to write anything shorter than three words. At this stage they weren't given the worksheets. I put their findings on the board.
  5. They worked in pairs. They filled in the sheet with the words from the board without listening the song for the
  6. second time.
  8. We listened to the song again so that they could complete the worksheet with the words, which were still missing and could check if they had been right.
  10. Volunteers read out and translated the lyric verse by verse and I put the useful words and expressions on the board. Frontal work.
  12. The students were provided with the Hungarian sentences. They had to find their original pattern in the text in pairs.
  14. With the help of the original sentence they formed the new sentences individually.

After doing the whole process we listened to the song again.

For homework they had to learn the new words, and I gave them a pattern of an official letter to brush up their knowledge about the form.

AID: the Internet to get the lyric, lang. lab. (This lesson can be done with a typed sheet of the lyric and a tape recorder as well.)


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The second lesson

How to search the Net

Aim: To get to know how to use the Internet for specific purposes.

Skills: Reading.

Organisation: I checked the Internet access and took my students to the Internet lab. Everyone worked individually.

  1. We talked about the Internet generally.
  2. The students had a couple of minutes to search by topics or keywords freely.
  3. I put the address of a lyrics server onto the board and they searched it for their favourite songs. I showed them how to copy it in a document file. They were asked to search for songs of which they had the record.
  4. For homework they were asked to prepare a worksheet from a song.

AID: the Internet, word processor or comp. note-book, accessories.


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The third lesson

Searching for job

Aim: To get to know how to use the Internet for specific purposes.

Skills: Reading for information.

Organisation: I checked the Internet access and took my students to the Internet lab. They worked in pairs.

  1. As a warmer we filled in a worksheet of a song they prepared at home.
  2. Vocabulary of finding job. I had put some nouns, verbs and adjectives in separate groups on the board in advance. We checked if they knew them and gave some more words to the word groups.
  3. I told them to try different search engines randomly to find a telecommunication technician job since thy are training to be one. I had prepared for the case of failure so had a specific Internet address.
  4. The students had a couple of minutes to search and to read the advertisements and choose one. Then they copied the advertisement into a word file. They were allowed to use a bilingual Internet dictionary to check the most important unknown words (
  5. I asked them to look at the word list on the board again, and to give some important new words to it. They copied the board into their exercise books.
  6. After the lesson I printed the advertisements and gave them to the students along with a copy of an official letter. At home they had to learn the new words, to study the advertisement and the letter of application as well.

AID: The Internet, word processor.

Conclusion: It was very useful to have spare Internet addresses because not everybody was successful with searching randomly. However it was worth to try how to search.


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The forth lesson

Applying for a job, letter writing

Aim: Writing an official letter.

Skills: Writing.

Organisation: Students worked in pairs. At home they had studied the official letter of the same purpose and they brought it to the lesson. They also had the printed forms of the job ads. I had put each advertisement on different screens before the lesson started.

  1. We revised the vocabulary frontally.
  2. I asked them to list the important elements and the features of the official letter.
  3. I asked them to write the letter of application with the help of the letter-pattern and the ad. Some of them needed my help with finding the important data in the advertisement. I put a stress on word processing as well, concerning font-size, paragraphs and many other things. (They were allowed to tell lies in their letter just to make it more interesting.)
  4. When ready, we viewed the form and the neatness before saving the file.
  5. After the lesson I printed the letters and gave them to the students along with a pattern of a CV. At home they had to check their letters and study the form and vocabulary of the CV.

AID: Word processor.

Conclusion: We had time for being neat and accurate. I found it very useful. The letters had little to be corrected afterwards.


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The fifth lesson

How to write a CV

Aim: To complete the application with a CV.

Skills: Writing.

Organisation: I had checked the letters written during the previous lesson. I also had a look at the job advertisements they had used. I compared them and also highlighted some important expressions in the ads. I made students work individually, one by every computer.

  1. We had a couple of words about the letters, the characteristic problems frontally.
  2. We discussed the grammatical form and the outlook of an official CV. We answered the vocabulary needs still with the whole group.
  3. Students were instructed to write their own CV. They did not have to be down to earth with their personal particulars.
  4. They checked the outcomes in pairs, made the necessary corrections.
  5. We had a last look at the pattern comparing its form to the children's work and they saved the files.
  6. I printed the CV-s and gave them to the students. At home they had to look for mistakes and learn the new words.

AID: Word processor.

Conclusion: -


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The sixth lesson

Clearing up

Aim: To correct the typical mistakes of the letters and CVs.

Skills: Writing, grammar.

Organisation: I had a look at the letters and the CVs and collected the most significant mistakes. I prepared a worksheet and the record of a popular song and the 2nd cassette of the New Headway Intermediate course book with example conversations of phone calls. We went to the language laboratory.

  1. As a worming up exercise we listened to the music and did the gap-filling exercises.
  2. We discussed the typical mistakes of their official letters and CVs, spoke about grammar, style and layout.
  3. I asked them to revive the vocabulary of making phone calls in pairs and then as a class.
  4. They listened the conversations, took notes on the copies of the tape-script.
  5. They were asked to learn the new expressions at home.


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The seventh and the eighth lessons

Talking on the Phone/1

Aim: Making arrangements on the phone. (Collecting the vocabulary, practicisng)

Skills: Mostly speaking

Organisation: I prepared the suitable number of Talk to me CD-ROMs, headsets made a script of the conversations of the CD-ROM. We went to the computer lab with multimedia access. Students worked individually.

  1. I introduced how to use the CDs and what the aim of the lesson is.
  2. The students worked through the conversation (disk 3, Talk to me). They could do this at their own speed.
  3. They were given the scripts of the conversation in order to learn the expressions as homework.

  Talking on the Phone/2

Aim: Making arrangements on the phone. (Reacording their telephone conversations)

Skills: Mostly speaking

Organisation: We went to the traditional language lab wihere conversations can be recorded. Students worked first individually then in pairs. They had the expressons of the CD conversation.

Exercises: They were directed to make four records.

  • Their own outgoing message
  • Leaving a message on their partner's answerphone
  • Making a phone call when they have dialled the wrong number or they could not talk to the right person
  • Making a call when they succeed in making an appointment for a job interview.

    Conclusion: They enjoyed making the records. All of them had the exercise completed in time. I took the cassettes home and made some notes on the mistakes. Next time they were given the result.

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The tenth and eleventh lesson

Job Interview/1

Aim: Preparing for a job interview

Skills: reading, writing

Organisation: We went to the computer lab. I had uploaded the script of a funny job interview. Students worked in pairs. They used the word processor.

Exercise: They were asked to rewrite the conversation with their own data, using the letters of application and their CVs.

    Conclusion: It was not easy to include all the previous information correctly. They realised that it is a part of a project and got to understand how the pieces build on each other.

    Job Interview/2

    Aim: Going on a job interview

    Skills: speaking

    Organisation: We went to the traditional language lab wihere conversations can be recorded. Students worked in pairs. They had the corrected script of their job interview.

    Exercises: They were directed to make the record of the job interview with any changes to the original. They could do it as many times as they liked.

      Conclusion: They enjoyed making the records. All of them had the exercise completed in time. I took the cassettes home and made some notes on the mistakes, like in the case of telephon conversations.

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The twelveth lesson

Clearing up

Aim: To correct the typical mistakes of the interviews. To summaryze the whole project, checking the documents.

Skills: speaking