In this issue you can see the materials prepared for publication by a group of
teachers from Gubkin, Belgorod region. For us it was the realization of our earlier dream
of involving teachers into the creative process of making the newspaper; and for teachers
it was a test of the pen, a good chance to become acquainted with the newspaper and the
editing process, as well as an implementation of assistance to their colleagues all over
Russia. We do hope that this first experiment will prove to be a good beginning towards a
long-term collaboration and cooperation between our newspaper and its readers.
Newspaper English as a Helping Hand
Семинар для учителей английского
языка школ города и района
The period from October till the middle of December was
really a busy time for the English language teachers in Gubkin: the poetry contest; a
refresher course; meeting with American teacher of history Bruce L. Damacio; the town
contest of projects “My Native Place”; the masterclass “Newspaper English as
a helping hand”. Though different in themes, all these events seemed to have much in
common: the active participation and interest shown by teachers.
The title of this report was the name of the seminar held on December
17, 2003 in Gubkin Methodological Centre.
Alyona Gromushkina, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper English,
and Olga Boltneva, a regular contributor to the newspaper and YES-club adviser, made a
one-day teacher training visit to Gubkin. Their main task was to develop participants’
skills to select and utilize newspaper English materials, and to develop new useful
materials for teachers of the English language.
The beginning of the seminar brought a very pleasant surprise to us.
About 30 issues of the newspaper English were presented to all participants to mark
the beginning steps of the work of the seminar.
Teachers were told about the newspaper, about its main rubrics.
Teachers asked the guests about their attitude toward the unified state exam and to the
textbooks by V. P. Kuzovlev. (It happened that in Belgorod region we are obliged to use
Also all the urgent, topical problems of current language education in
almost every sphere: international examinations, different kinds of testing, etc., were
Olga is full of bright ideas concerning the use of newspaper materials.
She charmed us by her resourcefulness. It was a real revelation.
The Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper English reminded the
teachers of Thomas Edison’s quotation, “Imagination is better than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” And then the participants were
offered to imagine themselves being an editorial of the newspaper English. Their
task was to compile an issue of the newspaper, to make it as useful and as interesting as
possible according to their practical teaching needs.
The teachers were divided into five groups. All the groups got
fairy-tale names: Princesses, Gnomes, Elves, Fairies and Princes. Why? I think is it
because the arrival of our guests to a small provincial town was also like a fairy-tale.
Teachers chose the following rubrics for their work: Around Russia,
Focus on Literature, Classroom Activities and Focus on Language.
The teams had only one hour to create materials for the newspaper.
Alyona brought some articles, and letters from other readers of English
Thus, the team responsible for the “Focus on Literature” page used
the essay “J.R.R. Tolkien and the Fantasy Genre” created by Natalya
The plan of the lesson “The History of Money” by Guliya
Shaikhutdinova from Salavat helped the “Gnomes” to make their page “Read &
Discuss” on the theme “Money in the USA”.
L.Oleinikova’s (Irkutsk) ideas helped the team of “Princes”
create their “Classroom Activities”– page devoted to adjectives.
For the “Methodology” rubric Olga Fedechkina, Olga Gorelykh and
Helen Finkova created a lesson for the students of the 11th form “Known and Unknown
The team “Elves” (Ludmila Korneva, Nataliya Borovinskaya, Galina
Bogdanova and Liliya Petrova) decided that Gubkin is the best place in the world and wrote
about it in their project “Around Russia”.
The seminar provided a good opportunity for teachers to work together.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was quite right when he said, “Nothing great was ever achieved
When all the materials were ready, the teams of teachers presented them
to their colleagues.
The best projects got special prizes – books of the publishing house
The First of September and special issues of the newspaper English.
The final turned out to be full of warm words. Alyona Gromushkina and
Olga Boltneva complimented the participants on being so responsive and active. They
believe the seminar will further involve teachers of Gubkin in being active readers and
authors of the newspaper English.
We thank Alyona Gromushkina and Olga Boltneva for coming to us and for
organizing this wonderful seminar.
By Elena Babina, Gubkin