Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Pearson test of English Academic to go live
Sunday, September 27, 2009
If I were popular
Friday, September 25, 2009
When singular and plural aren't
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
The state of linking verbs
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Verb vs preposition
Friday, September 11, 2009
Free, online tests of English
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
When more cash is less cash
Anyhow, "The federal and provincial governments signed a new four-year minority-language education agreement worth more than $1 billion." This is a 1.5% increase over the previous deal. In other words, it's less than half a percent a year, well below the cost of inflation. I suppose they could have cut funds outright...
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Teaching without declarative understanding
Friday, September 04, 2009
Language Learner Literature Awards 2009
Farley the Red Panda
Series editor: Rob Waring
Contributing writer: Sue Leather
Footprint Reading Library; Heinle
Aimed at older children at lower-intermediate level, the text combines narrative and factual information to win sympathy for the fighting spirit of a young animal and admiration for the helping humans.
Adolescent & Adult: Beginner:
Why? by Philip Prowse
Cambridge English Readers
Pioneering. Serious issues are presented in excellent, understandable prose complemented by superb illustrations. It is a good story which has a human dilemma at the heart of it.
Adolescent & Adult: Elementary:
A gripping story that is just as gripping in its adaptation. The technical skill of structural and lexical control is first class, and the illustrations support comprehension.
Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate:
Land of My Childhood: Stories from South Asia Retold by Clare West
Oxford Bookworms Library World Stories
These touching, engaging stories open up other worlds while making you think more about your own. Clare West is a master storyteller. Each story she retells is complete without spelling out every detail. As one reader put it, she “gives readers enough imaginary space”. An excellent collection.
Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced:
Nelson's Dream by J. M. Newsome
Cambridge English Readers
It is a heart-warming love story set against the heart-wrenching background of the impact of HIV/AIDS. By placing the problem of HIV/AIDS in such a human context, the book encourages its readers to think about and discuss what is arguably this century's greatest challenge.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Stanford Study of Writing
I don't currently teach a writing course, but I did teach a freshman composition course for two semesters and we do teach writing in our EAP program. I'm always looking for solid research about writing and the Stanford Study of Writing appears to be just that.
Paul Rogers' dissertation seeks to identify key variables related to Stanford students' writing development across their four years of college and into their first year post-graduation. Especially interested in testing the hypothesis that two particular variables, audience awareness and rhetorical understanding of sources, are significant in students' writing development, Paul developed an original, 10 point rubric to score a sample of academic writing from 40 study participants. Twenty writing instructors participated in the scoring of a sample of academic writing from 40 study participants, achieving 86.6% inter-rater reliability. Paul also coded the nearly 150 interviews conducted during the five years of the study to gather further understanding of participants' beliefs about what most contributed to their writing development. Preliminary findings indicate:
- Participants who scored high in rhetorical awareness of audience in their freshman year showed their greatest amount of growth in subsequent years, indicating this variable as statistically significant (p>.0001).
- Writing development is non-linear; students develop at different paces, sometimes regressing across years, particularly as they are learning the nuances of genre-specific writing within disciplines.
- Participants reported that conversations about writing with teachers, professors, teaching assistants, and post-doctoral fellows had the greatest impact on their writing development.
- While positive feedback appears to increase student-writers' confidence, descriptive constructive criticism may be most salient to helping students move their writing forward.
- Students valued feedback at all stages of the writing process, but especially early on in the process when feedback clarified teacher expectations, and clearly connected to writing and revision processes.