An Electronic Magazine by Omar Villarreal and Marina Kirac ©


Year 4                    Number 100               March 22nd 2003


           4750 SHARERS are reading this issue of SHARE this week


Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being SHARED





On this very special day of our issue Number 100, a big “Thank you” to all our readers, our dear SHARERS who week after week give us the invaluable gift of the warmth and pleasure of their company.

An enormous “Thank you” to our indefatigable contributors, the many SHARERS who know that they enrich themselves and help us all to grow by sharing their knowledge, their experience, the fruit of their research, their feelings and emotions or their good humour.

And a very special “Thank you” to our dear Bernieh who is always ready and willing to give us his helping hand as  computer trouble shooter, editorial policy consultant and a pep-up pill when things get rough.

And finally, on this very special day we pray to God that this family of SHARERS keeps on growing and sharing generously, that the true spirit of SHARE is never lost and He gives us the strength and the illusion to keep on offering you all a better SHARE every week.  




Omar and Marina




In SHARE 100


1.-    To SHARE on its 100th Edition!     

2.-    Down the dark Corridor there´s a ray of light!

3.-    A Learner Centered Approach: Implications for Syllabus Design.

4.-    Globalization, English and Professional Preparation.

5.-    Teaching English to Babies.

6.-    Old “facts” and Proverbs.   

7.-    News from the British Council.   

8.-    ARTESOL 2003.     

9-     APIBA SIGS Opening Event at Universidad Tecnológica Nacional.       

10.-   Job Opportunity at University in San Luis.






We are very happy to open this round of special contributions to our 100th issue with this message by our dear friend Susan Hillyard:



“ I was like an unconscious clod of earth. There was nothing in me except the instinct to eat, and drink and sleep....... Then suddenly, I knew not how or where or when, my brain felt the impact of another mind, and

I awoke to language, to knowledge and to love............”

Helen Keller (1880-1968)


        These words set me thinking about the impact SHARE magazine has made on the lives of more than 4,700 readers, not only here in Argentina but around the world. Not that I’m suggesting we teachers were unconscious clods of earth by any means but the sharing of information, the simple art of communication, the networking, the advice, the poems and stories of inspiration which we have sent to each other have certainly awoken us to language, knowledge and love. The power of the written word and the ease of communication have brought like minds together in a spirit of sharing, quite unique to SHARE magazine. It has brought enormous pleasure to large numbers of readers who wait eagerly for Sunday to come round ,knowing that Omar and Marina are going to be busy, busy, busy  reading, selecting, typing, cutting and pasting in a frenzy of activity to send the latest news “ hot off the press”. No easy matter, I know, but when we do something with passion because we love doing it we can be sure it will have an impact and inspire others to join the never ending, ever widening spiral of synergy.


CONGRATULATIONS and CELEBRATIONS on this 100th edition of Share magazine, created by Omar and Marina and sustained by the thousands of sharers who have realized that

“Education ( is)  not a thing of one’s own to do with what one pleases –that it (is) not a personal privelege to be merely enjoyed by the possessor- but a precious treasure transmitted; a sacred trust to be held, used, and enjoyed, and if possible, strengthened—then passed on to others upon the same trust.

Louis Brandeis   






Dear Omar and Marina,


Every time we think about "sharing", bread is the noun that pops up in our minds.

In many ways, each SHARE is a delicious bun prepared by all sharers, but baked by you both, the ones with all the recipes for our constant professional development in teaching.

Congratulations! One hundred pieces of bread were cooked to feed our souls and minds. Please keep on the hard work, because we are all longing for more.

From all the "Longman Team" we would like to thank you gratefully, and to wish you all the best for all the SHAREs to come.


Augusto Di Marco
ELT Manager
Pearson Education


P.S. One of our prestigious teacher trainers and authors, Jeremy Harmer, has sent us some words to share in this special occasion. We hope you and all the Sharers enjoy it. Happy 100 to you!


Down the dark corridor there’s a ray of light!

What is teaching really for?

By Jeremy Harmer


All teachers remember what it’s like when things aren’t going well. You know the feeling: it’s the end of a long week. And what have you got in front of you? A long corridor, and down the end of it a group of irritable students who you don’t especially enjoy teaching. And what is it that you’re going to try and teach them today? Of course! The present perfect. Aaaaarrrgh.


                      The point is that in the day-to-day reality of a teacher’s hard-pressed life,it’s sometimes difficult to remember what teaching is really for. But if we think carefully about why we are teachers and what it is we teach, it is not difficult to realise that we do have some ideals and we do have something to believe in. In the first place it is language we are teaching, language that helps us communicate love and joy (and sadness and anger) and hope. We use language to keep the world moving, to make arrangement and to come to decisions. And when we speak a foreign language we get to do all that in ways that are subtly different from the way we do it in our mother tongue. A foreign language gives us a window into different worlds and different ways of thinking.

However badly we feel about the present perfect today, then, the cause is noble; the subject is worth teaching. But we don’t just teach a subject anyway. As teachers we help to create a learning environment – no, more than that, a social environment – where students can grow in all sorts of different ways. In primary schools children learn to work co-operatively together, and they learn the importance and value of a trusted adult who is not their mother or father. Teenagers are helped, by effective teachers, to analyse the world they inhabit so that they can make it better. And we, in our turn, can help them to develop along entirely positive lines by offering them respect and support; by transmitting our enthusiasm and provoking their curiosity and genuine involvement. We do some of this just by who we are and how much we care (‘a good teacher is someone who knows our names’ an 11-year-old once told me). But it’s also the way we choose activities - and the way we introduce them and what we do when students are working through a task.


OK, so this morning, as you walk along that dark corridor it is difficult to muster the kind of enthusiasm I’ve been talking about so sentimentally. But if you’re only half as good as most teachers are, something extraordinary will happen as you walk through the door and the teacher in you kicks in. It may not be the best lesson ever, nor the nicest group you’ve ever taught. But when the magic works you suddenly know with a great sense of satisfaction, exactly what teaching is really for.



Jeremy Harmer is a teacher, teacher trainer and author. Among his many books are the classics, The Practice of English Language Teaching (now in its third edition) and How to Teach English, both published by Longman.

He is the general editor of the Longman methodology series and hosts the popular teacher development site






Our very dear friend and SHARER, Mary Ann Warburton, Managing Director of Macmillan Argentina, sends her fondest congratulations and this article by a well known Macmillan author



Main Features of a Learner Centered Approach: Implications for Syllabus Design.

Mª Sagrario Salaberri Ramiro

University of Almería (Spain)




       Traditionally, learners were considered to be competent in a foreign language when they were able to master a body of knowledge. Focus on communication has made of language learning a process of acquiring skills which implies communicative processes to be developed.


       In order to define what we understand by language learning we need to refer to the distinction between competence and performance. For Chomsky (1965), linguistic competence is what a person knows about the internalised rules of a language and performance is what a person does with the language. Hymes (1971) uses the concept of communicative competence and defines it as the knowledge of the rules of use and appropriacy, so that it includes not only linguistic competence but also sociolinguistic competence, strategic competence and discourse competence.


       The term communicative competence has shifted the attention towards a learner centered curriculum which implies new approaches in the field of EFL methodology, such as: communicative language teaching, task based learning, etc. It is essential to say that communicative language teaching is not a single methodology, but a set of approaches. In order to develop the communicative and linguistic skills that students need to carry out authentic tasks, appropriate choices need to be made.


1. Subject centered versus learner centered approaches: Main features.



       In a learner centered approach the focus is on communication, attempting to promote the students' learning processes and the ability to learn how to learn. The main features in this approach are the following:


* Learners must use the language to get things done so that their knowledge is built up on the basis of what can be internalized and language items are selected according to what students need, emphasizing everyday language. The selection of appropriate contexts determines the language items to be used.


In a subject centered approach, linguistic criteria are used for the selection of language items which are sequenced from what is considered to be simple to more complex.


* Focus is on the meaning rather than the form and fluency is more important than the accurate use of language forms. It means that learners will be involved in problem solving activities where they have to interpret, express and negotiate meanings, so that groups and pairs will be effective ways of grouping learners for communicative language work.


The aim is that students communicate effectively and appropriately to the context, while in traditional approaches the aim is to produce formally correct sentences through the practice and control of language elements.


* Errors are accepted as a natural and necessary part of the learning process. They are sign of progression and indicate that students make hypothesis about the rules of the new language. The observation and analysis of students' errors provide information about the possible changes to be incorporated into the syllabus and the need to introduce already presented elements in different contexts.


In subject centered approaches, errors are seen as a sign of failure due to lack of habit formation and interference from the mother tongue to the foreign language. It was claimed that if the teaching process had been perfect no errors would have occurred.


* Spoken interactions are considered as important as reading and writing, while traditionally reading and writing were emphasized. The performance of communicative activities and tasks makes necessary to integrate the different skills.


* Assessment and evaluation should be summative and formative, providing descriptions of final achievements and individual processes. Any element of the curriculum may be evaluated: goals and objectives, content, learning activities and materials and the assessment process itself.


    The role of the teacher in this approach is to be the facilitator and manager of the learning process, negotiating the content and attending to the learner needs. The learner has an active role as negotiator and should contribute to the learning process not only developing language skills but learning how to learn. The materials should be as authentic as possible and promote communicative language use.


2. Implications for syllabus design.


       The aspects considered above affect the decisions to be made respecting syllabus design and how tasks are integrated into it. No curriculum will be totally subject centered or learner centered, but there are ways to make it more learner centered. In order to do that, the following model is proposed:


       The first step is to examine the data provided by the students and select relevant information concerning their purposes for learning a foreign language so that they can be converted into communicative and learning goals.


       Then, it would necessary to specify the different syllabus items for a certain level, including the functions, grammar, linguistic exponents, vocabulary, skills and phonological items to be covered according to the previously stated goals. This will be act as a framework to provide coherence to the process of developing units of work and materials.


       After that, it is important to think about final tasks or sets of linked tasks which involve the students in communicative situations. Tasks and activities must be presented in a context so that decisions need to be made with respect to topics, settings, interlocutors, types of texts, etc. Different items from the overall syllabus will be selected and included in the planning for a certain period of time, attending to task oriented criteria for their selection.


       Another aspect to be considered is grading which affects not only the input but the activities or tasks that students must carry out. There has been a tendency to grade the difficulty of the input to which students are exposed, but it is also possible and necessary to grade the demands made on the learner to perform a certain activity. Learners can find something difficult not only in terms of the grammar presented and embedded in the information but also in terms of their processing capacity.


       Among the factors influencing the difficulty of the task with reference to individual learners, we can mention the following: previous acquired knowledge and learning experience, cognitive demands, context and information provided, cultural background, steps involved in the task, etc. 


       Once these steps have been followed, teachers need to transform the available teaching resources into units of work, which means selecting material from coursebooks, adapting it, using supplementary materials, developing their own resources, etc.


3. Adult language learning.


       A few principles concerning teaching foreign languages to adults are analysed here on the basis of moving towards a learner centered approach and considering that it is not advisable to change everything at once.


       Adults have shown to be better learners when they value their own experience as a resource for further learning. The fact that they have already developed their own ways of processing information and using the foreign language will influence future learning experiences. It is important to be respectful with their own learning styles in order to lead them into new ones progressively.


       Adults learn best when the content is relevant to their personal past experience or present concerns. One of the first questions we can ask ourselves as teachers is: are our students interested in learning a foreign language for general communicative purposes or are they interested in learning it for specific purposes? That would be the basis for developing a syllabus and materials connected with their needs.


       Adults are more involved in the learning process when they feel they are moving in the direction of their own self-concept than when others fix the standards and goals for them. Negotiation would be one of the essential requirements to be successful in the field of adult teaching.



4. Conclusion.


       This paper is an attempt to examine the basis of a learner centered approach to foreign language teaching, contrasting it with subject or teacher centered approaches. Some of the implications concerning syllabus design and adult learning have been analysed in order to make possible the incorporation of certain changes. In particular, it is important to remark that it is not possible to separate methodology from syllabus design and purposes of the learner. 




Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge Mass.: M.I.T. Press.

Clark, J.L. (1987). Curriculum Renewal in School Foreign Language Learning. Oxford University Press.

Hymes, D.H. (1971). "On communicative competence" in J.B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.): Sociolinguistics: Selected Readings. Harmondsworth: Penguin Education. 

Nunan, D. (1988). The Learner-Centred Curriculum. Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge University Press.



Mª Sagrario Salaberri Ramiro is lecturer at the University of Almería (Spain) and teacher trainer. She has worked as Primary School teacher and inspector. She has been involved in the development of curriculum design and curricular material for English as a foreign language. Author of Classroom language, co-author of Story telling, English Club, Teamwork Starter and Galaxy, and course consultant of Big Red Bus.







We are very proud to offer you this insightful article by our respected colleagues and dear friends Gladys Aguilera Muga and Ana Heredia Herrera from Chile: 


Dear Omar,

This is to congratulate you and Marina on the 100th edition of your fabulous SHARE magazine. As all the 4,750 professionals in the area of English Teaching, that compose the SHARE community, we have religiously followed each edition. We appreciate very much all your admirable efforts, courage and professionalism in the publication of every single issue; but, above all, we really appreciate, as we are certain all SHARE followers do, the immense quota of love and true friendship you have put in each edition.

We certainly are a family and we feel proud of being part of it. Thank you Omar, Thank you Marina for giving us the opportunity to share.

As a humble contribution to the magazine, we are attaching to this message, an article we presented last September in a conference in Cancún, México.

From the distance and with a very tight hug, receive all our love and appreciation for both of you.

Ana Heredia Herrera y Gladys Aguilera Muga
English Language Professors

at the University of Tarapacá, in Arica - Chile.

Globilization, English and Professional Preparation. What are we doing?

By Ana Heredia Herrera and Gladys Aguilera Muga



Through this presentation the teacher trainers will discuss some effects of the ongoing Chilean
Educational Reform on the design of a new students' Admission Test for the traditional universities. The research team calls out for a revision of this new instrument which will soon replace the current Academic Aptitude Test (PAA). It is the professors' belief that the omission of the English linguistic measurement in this test will eventually derive in weak university practices which will prevent future professionals to reach the communicative goals required for the challenges the present Information and Communication Society presents.

Globalization and its impact in the linguistic arena




          The globalization phenomenon impacting our society has provoked many changes throughout the world, including important variations in language use.  These linguistic effects can be observed in those foreign languages most frequently used in the global community, and which are essential for communication in the global economy.  Experts in the international use of languages also affirm that the presence of a language and the frequency of its use on the Internet might be even valid indicators of the level of power and influence of a specific linguistic community over other linguistic communities in the world. Recent studies in this area demonstrate that English, Spanish, German, and French are among the most widely used languages in global communication nowadays.  Some studies also affirm that the “nation” or linguistic community whose language is used as the lingua franca in disperse geographic regions has a powerful impact and influence on the economy and on the  people of other linguistic communities whose native language does not have this  extensive use in the global communication. The development of the process of globalization has indeed produced an increase in global communication which in turn requires increased standardization in the use of language, and the establishment of a lingua franca as a universal language.


          In this context, it is important to point out the role that the English language plays, as a lingua franca in world communication, as well as its role in the development of the majority of activities in the economic arena.  According to a 2002 publication by Richard G. Harris, professor of Economics at the University of Simon Fraser, Canada, it is estimated that 450 million of the world’s people communicate in English.  Only Chinese, with its 885 million speakers, surpasses this number; however, due to the characteristics of its phonological and writing systems, Chinese does not lend itself to the multiple applications in global communication that English does. Harris states that more than three fourths of postal mail communication occurs in English; and 89% of electronically stored information in the world is written and disseminated in English.  At the same time, English language dominates in oral and written communication over the internet. Thus, the knowledge and control of the English language has become the key point in the growth and in the economic and socio-political success of many nations.  With even greater frequency, service transactions in English as an international language occur over the internet in engineering, design, marketing, accounting, education, and finances.


          Our so-called Society of Information and Communication imposes upon its citizens short- and long-term challenges, and demands active participants who are prepared to face the requirements of a society which is in constant process of change and which is moving toward globalization and cultural and socio-political unity. In our viewpoint, these challenges necessitate on the part of all kinds of professionals, four important capacities for a successful professional life:  1) to have solid preparation and knowledge in their field of work, 2) To keep a flexible attitude when facing changes, and when working in groups 3) to have specific skills in the area of new technologies and 4) to manage one or more foreign languages. The latter is our concern and the subject of our presentation today. 


          In order to compete in the global world in communications, in business, and in decision making in any area of specialization, our society in Chile needs workers capable of understanding, speaking, and writing in one or more foreign languages: English, French, German, Portuguese, and others. Proficiency in these language skills becomes even more significant in economically developing countries whose objectives are to more aggressively participate in the world economy, which is the Chilean situation. The English language is increasingly recognized as a universal language. Likewise, proficiency in French, German, and Portuguese have renewed importance in commercial, social, educational, and cultural communication between Chile and non-Spanish speaking  countries; this is especially true in the case of the relations between Chile and some European countries, between Chile and the countries of North America, and between Chile and Brazil.


Information and communication are disseminated and developed primarily in the English language. In this context, it appears wise for any non-English speaking nation to include English as an obligatory subject at all levels of its educational system. Similarly,  it is also important  to consider the development of the skills of other foreign languages which may not be as extensively used as English but which also participate in the productive, social, and cultural activities of the country. It would be also wise, then, to include one of the other foreign languages as an optional foreign language to help students to build up their linguistic abilities for the workplace.


Educational Situation en Chile


Educational Reform


          As a result of the urgent necessity to face the new challenges and changes that have occurred in this era of Information and Communication, Chile has been developing, since 1995, a process of reform of the educational system.  This reform has been characterized as being gradual, incremental, and moving forward from the basic levels of elementary education. This action has generated a reform agenda which has compelled a strengthening of the teacher corps (Fortalecimiento Docente) and the realization of curricular reforms in basic and secondary education, among other actions.


         Along with other disciplines, the learning of English has experienced radical changes in its focus, methodology, and status in the curriculum in primary and secondary levels of the Chilean educational system.  Such changes motivate a constructivist approach in the process of teaching and learning of English, with new methodologies and learning strategies which incorporate content, authentic materials with activities which tend to prepare students to face society’s demands for jobs, and to acquire a better linguistic base prior to entering higher education. The results of these actions will be only observed in two years now, with the first students’ generation on whom the reform was applied. The same has not occurred with other foreign languages such as German and French, which traditionally have been recognized as essential languages for an individual’s cultural and personal development.  These language options had already been reduced to a minimum in the Chilean educational curriculum in the past 30 years, and are now excluded in the current plan for educational reform.


Higher Education


          As a result of the Educational Reform, higher education has acquired new importance and renewed value:  this was the statement of Chilean President Ricardo Lagos in his presidential speech of May 21, 2002.  Referring to higher education, our president stated:  “ a requirement of those who enter the world workforce is basic knowledge and clear values oriented to personal development, specific knowledge, and flexibility to be able to adapt to change.”  In response, the government and the Ministry of Education have been developing since 1997 “….a new agenda which grants special relevance to the development of higher education”.


          In the current year (2002), educational reform is advancing to the last stage in the physical and curricular implementation, and in the training of teachers in primary and secondary education.  Along with these actions, a new system of entry into higher education programs is being designed. This new system called SIES, (Sistema de Ingreso a la Educación Superior) is considered to be the instrument which will replace the current Test of Academic Aptitude (PAA).  With the objective of a new system of selective entrance to higher education, two traditional universities (University of Chile and the Catholic University) have revised and reformulated the PAA as part of a research project which was supported and financed by the National Foundation for Scientific Development (FONDEF), and by the Ministry of Education.  Currently, and after an intense discussion about the SIES and the changes proposed to its implementation, the Council of Rectors (Consejo de Rectores) has agreed to implement, from 2003 to 2005, a transition admission test , PAT , ( Prueba de Admisión de Transición).


System of Entrance into Higher Education (SIES)


          According to what the Minister of Education expressed in the ceremony launching the project for SIES, the purpose of the new admissions instrument is to articulate the curriculum of Chilean universities with the curriculum of the secondary schools.  The new test has two central specific objectives:  1) to reorient the content of the tests toward the new course of study realized in secondary education programs following the guidelines of the Educational Reform; and 2) to cover the most important content areas in secondary education in the specific subject tests.  Therefore, what are currently the three obligatory tests and five specific tests of the PAA will be replaced by four new tests with relevant subject matter for higher education:  mathematics, language, science, and history and social studies.  The leading goal is that changing the focus of the tests insures that the applicants to higher education programs will demonstrate their aptitude and competence in these domains.  This approach clearly concurs with the emphasis that the Chilean university system has been promoting these past few years, as well as with the professional and general formation of students which is reflected in the reformulation of the study plans for some majors.  The expectation is that the universities eventually will improve the quality of educational programs, and improve cognitive and meta-cognitive learning of the student body.  As foreign language educators, our concern is focused on the fact that since English is not considered a major subject area in the new system of university admission, secondary - school students will continue to neglect the study of this language and thus, will bring low language competencies that will prevent them from achieving the level of language skill necessary to face the challenges of professionals in their fields.


Some Weaknesses of the Test of Academic Aptitude (PAA)


          The test of academic aptitude has been utilized for three decades as the sole instrument used for admitting students into higher education, and although for many years its weaknesses in its objectives and format have been of concern,  the PAA had never been restructured or replaced.  The Minister of Education and the Council of Rectors recognized weaknesses in the system, including:  a)  the limited linking of the content and objectives of the PAA with those of secondary education; b) the limited or almost non-existent articulation of secondary and higher education programs.


          The first weakness has caused secondary-school students of 11th and 12th grade  to divide their focus of attention in two directions:  1) toward the curricular content of their course of study in secondary school, and 2) toward the objectives measuring their aptitudes in the PAA.  Over time, this action has distracted students’ attention from the content areas in their course of study in secondary education, and has prompted them to prepare themselves to meet the objectives of the PAA.  Moreover, as a logical consequence of the aforementioned situation, a minimal competency levels were achieved by students entering the university in professional career tracks in all fields, including their competence in the English language.  At the same time, this situation has created conflict regarding what is, and what should be, the quality and minimum competencies expected by our country in our professional preparation programs at a university level.  This has prompted an urgent reformulation of the course of study in university programs, encouraged by the Ministry of Education in its MECESUP project (Mejoramiento de la Calidad de la Enseñanza Superior) and which emphasizes innovation in the formation of our future professionals.


          The weaknesses mentioned above have especially impacted foreign languages, which were not treated in the PAA. Along the years, the lack of focus on foreign languages in the PAA has also provoked  an isolation  of these abilities and has concluded with  their minimal presence in university professional programs.  Thus, the PAA’s  lack of inclusion of any items with which to evaluate competencies of students in any foreign language has led to a lack of attention to developing proficiencies in foreign languages in two levels of education: secondary and in higher education.  The latter is reflected in the plans of study for the majority of career tracks in fields of science, engineering, psychology, education, etc.; in which English  is a weak component of professional preparation.


           The aforementioned situation is the basis for weak language training which results in minimal communicative English skills on the part of diverse professionals. What is more, it is sad to see that it is only when the professionals initiate their career, apply for a job or a scholarship, or focus toward post-graduate study, that they realize that these linguistic deficiencies impede them in facing more demanding challenges.  This deficiency has been, for many years, the subject of ongoing complaints and criticism toward the Chilean educational system, especially by those who have not had the privilege of receiving costly private education where English or another foreign language has a prominent role in the curriculum.  This situation is even more frustrating  for those who have completed programs in professional technical education, where the hours of instruction in English diminish in the 11th and 12th  grade.  Unfortunately, all these students only become aware of this shortage in their professional preparation when it is already too late.  One must then ask:  if this situation is now evident, and if it has been present for many years, if the necessity of learning foreign languages is not new and if it is widely recognized, then why is there this tendency to ignore the need for language instruction and to omit foreign languages in programs in the educational system?


          Our neighboring countries also have evidenced this necessity in the plans and in strategic actions of their governments. They have recognized the importance of foreign languages in order to protect the economic, commercial, cultural, and tourist interests of their country and, most importantly, have taken actions to cope with the need for the presence and development of certain foreign languages in their educational system.  Thus, for example, the government of Argentina contemplates the following criteria in a proposal to promote specific foreign language instruction in the educational system:


”....English should be present, because it is, at this time, the lingua franca without geographic, political, or cultural borders.  French, because it is along with English, an international language of work  in  international organizations, because it is used in 49 countries, it facilitates access to science and technology including that not originating in France, and because it always has been present in the political and cultural history of Argentina; Italian, because almost 40% of the population is of Italian origin; Portuguese, for macro-political reasons:  Brazil is a member of MERCOSUR and the most powerful neighbor…: 


(from a segment taken from the Introduction to Education, from the government of Argentina, Resolution 1998).


          In the previous segment one can appreciate how to recognize the importance of the knowledge of foreign languages in the social, geographic, political, cultural, and economic development of the country.  Chile should also achieve a similar action, in declaring English as an international language of communication; French, for its world wide use in many fields; German, for its economic, political, and cultural use; and Portuguese for the progressive social, cultural, and commercial interaction between our country and Brazil.  It is evident that proficiency in many languages will be necessary to move forward with international exchange, now and in the future.


Situation of English as a foreign language


          The necessity of solid oral and written competence in English by university students in pre-professional programs has been increasing in recent years in a society, which is dynamic and competitive and which accesses and exchanges information from other linguistic communities in English.  Nevertheless, this necessity is not reflected in the requirements of English for specific purposes in the majority of undergraduate professional programs in the country, which intend to train their students with language skills in two or three semesters of their program.  It is necessary to point out that in this context, this objective could only be reached if those same students enrolled in the university with basic solid knowledge of English built in their secondary education.


          After three generations of having applied the PAA, the new admission test (SIES) is presented as a concrete action to correct the deficiencies of the PAA.  The required and content tests are considered essential components for reaching studies in higher education.  Unfortunately, like the PAA, the SIES test also omits measurement of competency in English as the international language of communication. As in the 30 years in which the PAA has been administered, it is evident that this omission will result in limited English proficiency on the part of pre-professionals being trained in universities who will not be able to reach the level of English linguistic competence. These pre-professionals should have these skills to successfully compete in the world market where communication and access to information in the foreign language are required, whatever their area of concentration might be.




           As it has been expressed in presentations and in actions of Mariana Aylwin, and Maria Soledad Alvear, the Ministers of Education and of Foreign Relations, we think that the profile of professionals and of citizens in a nation does not exclusively depend on the characteristics of the plan of study of their educational system.  This profile should also  respond to the necessities and characteristics of their economic, social, political relations with foreign countries. We believe that the proposal realized by the SIES Committee addresses the basic necessities of our educational system. Thus, the SIES constitutes a cooperative work done solely by professionals in the area of education; therefore, it exclusively corresponds to a study of the needs of the Chilean educational system. We welcome the SIES proposals for the modification of a collapsing system of university entrance. Undoubtedly, these actions tend to correct and modify some deficiencies and limitations of the PAA. Nevertheless, we strongly believe it is also necessary to continue this work with the examination of new strategies for the inclusion of a specific test that measures the students’ command of the English language.


         The need for a specific test that measures the students’ competence in English has also been acknowledged by other developing nations; some universities in Venezuela, for example, have already implemented and incorporated a specific English language test along with other general content tests for admission to tertiary education ( e.g. Universidad Metropolitana), some others in the same country are in the process of incorporation of a similar test ( e.g. Universidad Simón Bolivar ). This state of affairs clearly shows this linguistic necessity as a tendency rather than as a particular Chilean situation.


        In the sixties, long before the application of the PAA in Chile, the competence of a foreign language (English or French in those years) already constituted an evident linguistic necessity in the Chilean society. This need was reflected in one of the demands of the so called “Bachillerato”, which was a former system for students’ admission to university studies and which was abruptly minimized with the advent of the PAA. This language necessity has been vertiginously multiplied in these past few years with English as an unquestionable universal language. Nowadays, the command of this foreign language, together with the communication technologies, is considered worldwide an essential linguistic skill in the students’ general formation of professionals in all university programs. The need had been extensively acknowledged by authorities in Chile; nevertheless, it has not been implemented in their educational actions. The latter has triggered the proliferation of private English language centers and academies along the country.


        With the omission of a test measuring the students’ basic English language competence in the instruments of the new system of students’ admission to universities, we are about to make the same mistake. Hence, the preliminary question of this paper.. What are we doing? leads us to two subsequent questions…Where are we headed? ..and.. Will we commit the same linguistic omission mistake again?.


          It is our firm belief that it is still time to take foreign languages out of the isolated situation in which they currently are to place them where they should be. The present state of affairs is completely opposed to the demands for the kind of social, cultural, and economic diversification that our society requires. Moreover, and in a less pragmatic perspective, we strongly believe that the study of foreign languages enriches the spirits of individuals, helping them to understand diversity, and helping them to build up a different worldview which will allow them to progressively become more humane and more reflective.


           As English teacher trainers, we have also adhered to the campaign of foreign language restitution, and more specifically, of the repositioning of the English language in the Chilean educational system initiated by Dr. Leopoldo Wigdorsky. We consider the modification of the foreign language status as transcendental for a good economic, social and cultural development of our country; particularly, in its relations with English speakers of English of the European continent and North America. Consequently, we consider an obligatory deed to make this reflection in support of this initiative. Not doing so, would mean to silently accept a state of foreign language isolation for some other decades with the inevitable consequences in the preparation of our university professionals; hence, to silently accept a feeble incorporation of our nation in the global world.


         Chile has already paid its price with its isolation in the world of globalization. Our government has recognized the value of global communication in its actions, but it has to perform direct actions in order to solve this linguistic necessity of its citizens. Fortunately, we are optimist and we think we are still in time to correct this linguistic omission mistake in the new instrument to be used in the modified system of admission to universities. How? First, by incorporating a specific test measuring the students’ English language competence; and secondly, by strengthening the English language requirements in the plan of studies of students of all the university programs.





Economic Approaches to Language and Bilingualism. Richard G. Harris (2002)

Globalization, Informatization, and Intercultural Communication. Randy Kluver, (1999)

G2026 Listos para la Globalización. APEC  ( 2002)

El nuevo orden lingüístico. Joshua A. Fishman ( 2001)

Discurso del Presidente de la República, Don Ricardo Lagos Marzo 2000

Discurso presidencial 21 de mayo: Prioridades de la Educación Superior

Entrevista a la Ministra de Educación a la Ministra de Educación Mariana Aylwin

Ministra de Relaciones Exteriores. María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela. Su misión

Gobierno de Chile. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Misiones en el Exterior

Vision of Learners in the 21st Century. Vision Statement.. SchoolNet. Canada, 1996.

SIES. Sistema de Ingreso a la Educación Superior. SIES

Los peligros de lo que no es y las ventajas de lo que SIES . Ministerio de Educación.

Declaración pública del Consejo de Rectores


Equidad y Resultados Educacionales

Los qué y cómo de las nuevas pruebas de selección

Documento. Introducción al Sistema de Educación del gobierno de Argentina. Importancia de las lenguas extranjeras Resolución 1998..






Our dear SHARER Maria Marta Suarez sends her warmest wishes on our 100th edition  celebration and a motivating article:


Learning a FOREIGN language WITH rather than AFTER the mother tongue, is very EASY


By Maria Marta Suarez



I am sure you are already aware of the awesome capacity babies have to learn languages. You have probably heard of the successful language learning experience of children brought up in bilingual families. You may even have had the chance to hear them talk and sound so beautifully native! You may also have heard of their outstanding performance at school in all other subjects. Yes, learning more than one language at an early age opens not only the door to easy language learning but also the door to multiple intelligences.


In other words, there are three very good reasons to introduce a baby to a second language. Firstly, to make the best of the baby’s natural capacity to internalise all the grammatical system. Babies have this unique gift from birth to the age of three.  At this age their brains are endowed with windows of opportunity that allow for neurological connections that facilitate the accurate internalisation of grammatical systems.   After that, internalisation of the grammar requires some cognitive effort that gradually increases year after year. Therefore, really effortless language learning can take place if started at babyhood.


Secondly, the younger the baby the smarter he is at recognising and reproducing sounds. At the age of 3 months babies are “world citizens” and their babbling is identical no matter where they live. Even deaf babies babble just like any hearing baby. Nature prepares them to learn any language, and babbling is the exercise that will help them do so.  However, at six months, their babbling has already got an accent. For instance, a Brazilian baby utters sounds that are clearly different from those uttered by an Argentine baby. Research points out that at 8 months old any healthy baby can imitate the sounds of the languages he has consistently been exposed to. At 12 months, he has already lost this capacity. He is already “deaf” to certain quality of foreign sounds and has missed the unique opportunity to sound like a native speaker of a second or a third language. Thus, regardless of the mother tongue of a baby, the earlier he is exposed to a target language the most accurate his pronunciation will be.


The third reason I have found that makes this early start worth is the fact that the human brain grows through use and it completes its growth extremely early in life. Since language is such a complicated function, the demands on the infant to learn a second language will develop his brain at its most. Consequently, through the early teaching of a foreign language, such as English or Spanish, you can facilitate the development of a baby’s capacity to learn all functions, not just language. Foreign language learning becomes an early stimulation programme that optimises the child’s potential to learn, music, maths, grammar and all other abstract fields of knowledge.  


Finally, I would like to mention another very important reason for language teachers to start teaching babies.  You, as a language teacher, can co-create together with a group of babies and their parents an atmosphere of friendship, play, joy and creativity which will enhance the overall potentiality of the babies for happiness, health and endless learning capacity.  


Looking forward to your feedback and questions


María Marta Suárez



María Marta Suárez has developed a holistic methodology, ALL Alternative Language Learning, on which she has based her EFL courses and trainings in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and at the Findhorn Foundation College in Scotland. She co-founded IACA, Holistic English Institute in Buenos Aires. She has academic as well as experiential background in as a teacher, teacher trainer and school manager. At the moment, she runs a network of schools and private teachers who teach English and Spanish as foreign languages.  She has been teaching English to all age-groups as from 4 years of age for sixteen years now but a few years ago she decided to extend the age-limit of her students and started teaching babies. She has developed a programme that can be extended for three years if the baby starts when he is just a few months old.






Our dear SHARER Ken Wilson sends us these tongue-in-cheek historical facts to celebrate.


Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be....


Here are some facts about the 1500s:


Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour.


Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children, last of all the babies.  By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it - hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."


Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof-hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts. And a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor."


The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway-hence, a "thresh hold."


In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while-hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."


Relatively wealthy people always kept a cold shoulder of mutton in the pantry which they reserved for unexpected guests they didn't care for. Hence, giving someone the cold shoulder.


Hitchhike - from the days of horse travel when sometimes people had to share a horse.  One would ride, the other 'hike'.  After a mile or so the rider would 'hitch' the horse and start hiking


Playing gooseberry - from the days of chaperones.  The young couple would often meet in the vegetable garden, the chaperone would stand discretely behind the gooseberry bushes


Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.


Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread which was so old and hard that they could be used for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms and mould got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, mouldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."


Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."


Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the drinkers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up-hence the custom of holding a "wake."


Somewhere near present day Milton Keynes, there used to be a village with two pubs, facing each other, One was called The Cock and the other was called The Bull. Both were resting points for various professional and amateur travellers, stage coaches and the rest. Tall stories filtered from north to south and from south to north via these two pubs. Often, people who had drunkenly heard a story in one would cross the road and tell it in the other. After two such tellings, they were usually unbelievable. Ah, that'll be a Cock and Bull story.


England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave.  When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for

the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."


And that's the truth... (and whoever said that History was boring?!) 


Bio Data: Ken Wilson is a teacher trainer, a director of the English Teaching Theatre and a prolific author of ELT materials with more than 20 titles to his name. He taught English at the British Institute, Seville, Spain, and then moved to International House, London, where he also became a teacher trainer. Ken recorded and produced Mister Monday, the first-ever collection of ELT songs. When it was released, it incidentally made him the youngest ELT author in history! He has written more than 100 radio and TV programmes for BBC English, including 50 radio scripts for the Follow Me series and 30 TV scripts for the Look Ahead series. Ken is a regular at IATEFL and TESOL conferences around the world.





Our dear SHARER Mary Godward, Information Services Manager The British Council, writes to us:  

Below you will find information on John Burnside's programme. There will be no enrollment and, in agreement with our sponsors (and thanks to their generosity as well), there will be no charge for his events because they should all have been part of the original Words on Words 2002 programme. Still, if you are travelling a long distance to attend any of the events, please e-mail us ( <>) or phone us (011-43119814) so we can reserve a seat for you until 15 minutes before the event starts.

Workshops for 16-18 year olds (In the details)
PLEASE NOTE that regarding the workshops for students ONLY (Tuesday 8 April), the schools that had booked tickets for the September 2002 sessions will have a priority. If your students were amongst them, please contact us during the course of this week. After that, places on these workshops will be open to all other schools. There will be a maximum of three tickets per school. So, if you did not buy tickets for these workshops last year and you would like three of your students to attend, please e-mail us ( <>) or phone us (011-4311 9814) as soon as possible so we can put your name down.

Teaching materials and books
We have run out of the teaching materials on John Burnside but we can send you a photocopy if you did not receive them last year. Some of Burnside's books are sold out but quite a few (The Locust Room, The Mercy Boys, Burning Elvis and The Light Trap) are still available at Librería Kel ( <>)

Programme of events

John Burnside ...only a click away!
Some of you are probably too far away to attend any of Burnside's events so we have organised a live chat online with him:  Friday 4 April 11.00am. Look at our website to join Burnside for a live chat online! <>

John Burnside: the award-winning poet
Buenos Aires Saturday 5 April 1.00pm
del Uruguay Sunday 6 April 10.00am
Córdoba Wednesday 9 April
Listen to John Burnside reading some of his most well known poems and explain how he has drawn on ecology and nature for inspiration.

'Whenever we think of home'
Buenos Aires Saturday 5 April 2.30pm
del Uruguay Sunday 6 April 11.30am
Córdoba Wednesday 9 April
Burnside examines identity and location in the teaching of creative writing.
Who are you? Where are you from? Where do you belong? Whom do you belong to?

In the details
Buenos Aires Tuesday 8 April 9.00am-12.00pm & 1.00-4.00pm
According to Burnside, 'the life of a poem is in the details but what makes a good poem is which details we choose and which we leave out'. Guided by him, forty 16-18 year-olds try their hand at writing poetry.

For further information please contact
British Council
M T de Alvear 590 - 4th Floor
C1058AAF Buenos Aires
T (0) 11 4311 9814
F (0) 11 4311 7747 <> <>



8.-   ARTESOL 2003


Our dear SHARERS Liliana and Patricia Orsi. Co-directors of Rainbow English, want to SHARE these ARTESOL news with all teachers:


Every year, Rainbow actively participates in Argentina Tesol’s Annual Conference. Liliana and Patricia are Board members for this association and are also in the conference organizing committee  This year the convention will be held in Tandil at the Universidad Nacional del Centro, on June 27 and 28.

The main speaker will be our prestigious colleague Dianne Larsen-Freeman, Ph.D. University of Michigan, M.A. University of Michigan, B.A. State University of New York, Oswego. She has authored books and articles  on discourse analysis, English Grammar, language teaching  methodology and second language acquisition research, and is a series director for Grammar Dimensions, a four-level grammar series. We strongly encourage all teachers  to participate in this event.






Our dear SHARERS form APIBA Executive Committee write to us:  


Nos dirigimos a Uds. con el objeto de informarles que el próximo sábado 12 de abril la Asociación de Profesores de Inglés de Buenos Aires (APIBA) llevará a cabo su Evento de Apertura de los Grupos de Estudio de APIBA (APIBA SIGs) en el Instituto Nacional Superior del Profesorado de  la Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Triunvirato 3174, Capital Federal.


El objeto del Evento de Apertura de los Grupos de Estudio (SIGs) es brindar a los profesores de inglés oportunidades de desarrollo profesional, tal como lo establecen los Estatutos de nuestra Asociación. Se espera una concurrencia de aproximadamente 60 personas. El ingreso será libre y gratuito para los miembros de APIBA y alumnos de profesorado, mientras que a los no miembros de la Asociación se les solicitará una contribución de $10.


El formato del Evento de Apertura de los SIG será el siguiente:

14 a 15: Reunión general de miembros y coordinadores de SIGs

15 a 15.30: Coffee-break / Exposición comercial

15.30 a 17: Reuniones individuales de cada SIG a las que asistirán los miembros y coordinadores de los siguientes grupos de estudio de APIBA: Applied Linguistics SIG, Business SIG, Cultural Studies SIG, Computers SIG, Language SIG, Literature SIG, Phonology SIG, Professional Development SIG (Pilar), Professional Development SIG (Olavarría), SLT (Second Language Teaching) SIG (Lomas de Zamora), SLT (Second Language Teaching) SIG (Bernal).


Información Adicional:






Our dear SHARER Paola Danessi from London Exams has got an announcement to make:



Our dear SHARER Leonor Páez Logioia from Universidad Nacional de San Luís has an announcement to make:

En San Luis saldrá la semana próxima el llamado a concurso por tres cargos de Lengua Inglesa para el Profesorado de Inglés del Instituto de Formación Docente Continua. Las obligaciones académicas: cumplir una carga horaria de 35 hs (de las cuales sólo menos de la mitad son de clase, el resto es para organizar clases,  estudiar, participar en proyectos, etc)  El sueldo de bolsillo es de $ 1300. Enviar CV con un proyecto de dos o tres páginas.

Por favor, interesados contactarse con Leonor Páez Logioia,  TE  02652-423588.


Time to say goodbye again. This week with a message we are very proud of. It is from our fairy godmother Elida Messina. As you may remember Elida was a founding SHARER (one of the 48 people who received number 1 of SHARE ) and has been faithfully by our side since then with an heart caressing word and all the love only a noble soul like her can give.


Congratulations my dear Omar, Marina, Martin and Sebas!


It is invariably a pleasure to see how Share keeps growing and becoming a useful source of reference for our colleagues, and a bridge between theoreticians and practitioners.

Amazing growth at times when so many around us just beg and cry for help. This hands-on  attitude is so much more positive and fulfilling! Quite an example for our students - and ourselves.

Please keep at it. It is a big effort, we all know for sure. But it is worth it and you know we appreciate it. Thank you.


Big hug,





Omar and Marina.


SHARE is distributed free of charge. All announcements in this electronic magazine are also absolutely free of charge. We do not endorse any of the services announced or the views expressed by the contributors.  For more information about the characteristics and readership of SHARE visit:

VISIT OUR WEBSITE : There you can read all past  issues of SHARE in the section SHARE ARCHIVES.