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Re: [ExtensiveReading] Re: meaningful reading as the core, as crucial

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  • Rob Waring
    ... That s why it is often wise to take Charles stance that the best researcher is the teacher. Lot to be said for that. We don t always need to abstract, and
    Message 1 of 96 , May 1, 2002
      >In response to Clive's thoughts here, I'd just like to add that I
      >think whichever you way to decide to research and explore what
      >interests you, you're going to face problems in keeping it simple
      >enough so that you can argue from research questions through to
      >results and beyond. My own (limited) experience is that most
      >research is a lot more untidy than what gets written up and
      >published, whether limitations are discussed in detail or not. I
      >don't think that untidiness is a problem: It just raises more
      >questions for the next piece of research that you do. And I'd guess
      >that your decision about what to pursue further follows on from
      >the untidiness of your previous research rather than from the
      >'clean' results gained. It's not that clearcut in other words, a
      >lot of the time.
      That's why it is often wise to take Charles' stance that the best
      researcher is the teacher. Lot to be said for that. We don't always
      need to abstract, and why bother when it is nigh-on impossible to do


      Rob Waring

    • Nikorasu Kweto
      ... for moving away from a strict ER-Only/self-selected approach to one that includes teacher- selected (if i understand correctly)/ follow-up activities - as
      Message 96 of 96 , May 25, 2002
        > Sounds really interesting, but I'd like to know more about your reasons for moving away from a strict ER-Only/self-selected approach to one that includes teacher-> selected (if i understand correctly)/ follow-up activities - as I have also sometimes done. 
        Two things.
        First, difficult students taking advantage of the freedom of choice ER allows. Too much of my in-class energies became "police-ing" oriented. (And before you judge me, walk in my jr high moccasins for a couple of moons, and then come back and talk to me.)
        Second, an insufficient amount of beginner-level graded readers/materials. By "insufficient" I mean, on one hand, that there weren't enough beginner books in our library. The original purchasing had worked on the premises that students should progress up levels, and that 10 or so books per level would be enough to engender confidence. In hindsight, a technically correct decision, but, practically, an unwise one. Also by "insufficient", however, I mean that what publishers and writers of graded readers think constitutes a "beginner" level is very different from what my students (or, I hazard, most JHS3 students in Japan) actually think. For example, Oxford Reading Tree Stages 1-4 are truly beginner level (one, maybe two sentences per page, and a _very_ large cute picture per page), while its Stages 5-6 begin to border on dangerous ground; by contrast, supposedly pre-beginner series like Penguin Easystarts, New Wave, or scarriest yet, beginner levels like Bookworms Stage 1, were something students would, at best, open and be immediately scared off of, or, at worst, be induced to pretend they had read (which is too bad, because, Easystarts, Bookworms, and other similar "beginner" series are indeed interestingly written, attractively illustrate, and even potentially readable by some of my students).
        So, figuring I could remedy the first problem by fixing the second one, this year I ordered all the Oxford Reading Tree Stages 1-6 books. Then, figuring from long (and sometimes painful) experience that students worked better and more honestly in groups than individually (though there are individual exceptions -- which, this year, is proving a separate story onto itself), and that students preferred more explicit and direct guidance as well as clear-cut measurable goals, the reading  work for students in the first year of "ER" now consists of only class-readers, read in groups of two or three students, with a tape and vocabulary-focused worksheet for each story, a receptive-vocabulary test for each "stage" (each stage introduces and develops a character or theme by mixing books from across the ORT levels), and an end of term receptive-vocabulary exam. And, though only a half-a-term into the year, I'm quite sure that it's going to work: all students but one are visibly and audibly enjoying themselves while at the same time steadily maintaining a self-monitored reading workload (ie, no "police-ing" on my part... almost), with test marks confirming to some extent that, at least receptively, lexicon growth is happenig. Perhaps next year, with this ground work set in their first year, this batch of students might be more willing to attempt with less teacher-guidance the other and more "advanced" graded readers now collecting dust...
        Hope that painted a worthwhile picture.
          Nicolas Cueto                    | 
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