Issue 4
February 1999

Editorial Staff: 
David Lloyd
Gail Mann 
Ellen Serfaty 
Ann Shlapobersky
Renee Wahl

What's New on ETNI?

David Lloyd

ETNI is continually growing. 

We see this in the growing membership on the ETNI mailing list - we now have 650 EFL/ESL educators subscribed to the ETNI list.
(And this is after we recently removed approximately 60 "dead email addresses" - addresses from which the mail was continually bouncing, apparently from people who changed their email address over the past two years or closed it altogether, without informing us.)

 And we see this on the ETNI website. The ETNI website is becoming so big and varied that we are presently working on a new "face" to the website which will allow for much easier navigation and understanding of all that is included there. 

ETNI's success in creating a dynamic and informative infrastructure for the Israeli EFL educator is the result of a growing and dedicated staff involved in the running of ETNI from all parts of Israel, and the increased coordination between ETNI and the English Ministry. 

Recent significant additions from the English Ministry on ETNI include the new BAGRUT section (including the new Special Testing Conditions for Pupils Taking the Bagrut Exam), The Native Speaker Program, Standards for Pupils of English: A Curriculum for Israeli Schools, and Guidelines for Portfolio Assessment in Teaching English. We are also presently working on putting up past and present issues of the English Teaching Journal, and are also trying to obtain permission for putting up present and past copies of the Bagrut Exam.

The ETNI Test Bank has become a very popular new addition to ETNI, with tests that can be download and also viewed on the Internet.  (See Rachel Arenstein’s article in this edition).

 The Teachers teaching Teachers corner, an old and trustworthy ETNI source of information and sharing of information for teachers, has been growing steadily over the past few months. 

The Teaching Positions page is being added to every day as schools post vacant positions and teachers look for available positions.

You can also find important information about courses for EFL educators which appears on the Courses page and which is being added to constantly.

In addition to the Textbook Corner, where publishers and textbook writers can post information about their textbooks, we now also have a Resource Books Corner, dealing more with supplemental texts.

The Israeli Schools List is continuing to grow and be updated. This list contains information about Israeli schools connected to the Internet, including their email address, contact person for the school, the location of the school, and URL for the school's homepage, if it has one. This list is pointed to from the Israeli Foreign Ministry's home page and the web pages of many of the Israeli embassies and consulates abroad. If your school is not there, or the information for your school is not updated, fill out the online form on-site with the necessary information.

Over 80 EFL educators are taking part in the online ETNI Webpage course. Due to the large participation and interest in this course, we plan to hold similar online courses on other areas of interest to the EFL educator in the future.

Some people have shown interest in renewing the ETNI Chat, in which EFL educators get together for a "real-time" chat once a week or once every two weeks. We hope to have this up and running again soon.  (Contact Rachel Arenstein
if you’re interested in the Chat)

The Who's Who on ETNI list has been growing slowly. We now have 220 EFL educators listed there, many with their pictures posted, and information on their interests and specialties. But we would like to see many more add their information to this list. Remember, if you haven't done so yet, you can find the online form for adding your information to the Who's Who on ETNI  from the main ETNI web page. And if you are listed, but haven't send us your picture yet, please do so (unless you really don't want it there).

And, of course, ETNI News staff members are trying to meet your needs—our readers—but we need your help.

Another key to the success of ETNI is that its pages are spread out on servers across Israel, a unique collaboration between different educational bodies. The ability of ETNI to remain apolitical enables it to serve the best interests of all EFL educators in this country.

As you can see, ETNI has become a very busy place. We always welcome your ideas and contributions. Remember to visit the ETNI homepage from time-to-time as there is usually always something new to see and discover there. 

The ETNI test bank

Rachel Arenstein

At the summer ETAI conference, ETNI members decided, during our face-to-face meetings, to build a testbank. Volunteers were called for and since I am on sabbatical I decided to have a go.

The testbank has proved very interesting on two levels: educational and technical. Technically, this was the most complicated thing I had ever attempted. I know how real html tags look and theoretically can write them. However, I prefer to take the easy way out and use an editor such as the Netscape Composer. This means that Hebrew is a problem--hence the reason for cutting it out of the tests. Until recently, any sites I prepared were sent to our local webmaster here in Maalot, who checked them and then uploaded them onto the server. I entered new levels when I decided the time had come for me to do this myself. David Gur, the webmaster here in Maalot sat with me and explained how to do it. I came home armed with a password and ready to try. Needless to say, it took four attempts to get the first part of the site up. I think I have got the hang of it now.

On the educational level I found the tests fascinating. I only teach up to sixth grade and have no real idea what happens after that. The tests were an eye opener. They seemed impossibly difficult to me. The jump between sixth and tenth grade is astounding. It has made me very aware of what the kids face when they move through the school system.

I think the test bank is a great idea. Not just as a place to “take” a test when you don't have one. That to me is almost a side issue. I find it interesting to compare the tests and see what different teachers are demanding of their students. Different teachers have different styles and approaches. The tests have become a learning tool in themselves. So carry on sending them and I will continue to publish them!

Rachel Arenstein,