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Re: (teach) Re: English teaching material with implicit life education

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  • Karen Thompson
    Evalynne, Your email caught my attention for a few reasons that I do not wish to go into, however, it appears (to borrow a line from Pappion) what we have
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 30, 2001
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      Evalynne,
      Your email caught my attention for a few reasons that I do not wish to go
      into, however, it appears (to borrow a line from Pappion) "what we have
      here is a failure to communicate." After reading your email and not
      knowing what you were talking about I went back to the archives and read
      the first "Re: English teaching material with implicit life education"
      post. What I read from the original poster, Julianna Hsu, was a request
      for help with her MS thesis. I understood her thesis to be about how
      learning English that is taught using materials and activities with
      implicit moral education, effects the students learning and motivation. I
      am no expert here but judging by her surname and use of grammar in her
      original post, I would assume she is Chinese and already in China.



      02:34 AM 6/30/2001 -0400, you wrote:
      >I would suggest you do cultural education before you impose western or
      >your own morals on the Chinese. I find that completely offensive and I
      >feel strongly about it.
      >
      >Are you a Christian? Are you coming to teach in CHina to "SAVE" the
      >chinese? If so- do not come.
      >
      >However- if you are coming to respect them and love them to their fullest
      >potential- whatever they choose that to be- come on over.
      >
      >evalynne2001@...

      China or Bust!

      Karen aka Julie and Charlie's mom
      CCAI groups 81 and 149
      Come and join us as we head back to China for a couple of years (maybe more!)
      KarensChinaJournal@yahoogroups.com
    • maximum59@hotmail.com
      ... or your own morals on the Chinese. I find that completely offensive and I feel strongly about it. ... the chinese? If so- do not come. IT WOULD HELP ME
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 30, 2001
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        --- In teflchina@y..., amarojo@a... wrote:
        > I would suggest you do cultural education before you impose western
        or your own morals on the Chinese. I find that completely offensive
        and I feel strongly about it.
        >
        > Are you a Christian? Are you coming to teach in CHina to "SAVE"
        the chinese? If so- do not come.

        IT WOULD HELP ME AT LEAST, IF I KNEW TO WHOM OR TO WHAT MESSAGE YOU
        MIGHT BE REFERRING TO. ARE YOU DOING A BLANKET COVERAGE OF ALL WHO
        SUBSCRIBE TO THIS FORUM?
        >
        > However- if you are coming to respect them and love them to their
        fullest potential- whatever they choose that to be- come on over.
        >
        > evalynne2001@y...
      • Jennifer Wallace
        I ve missed the beginning of this thread - what started it? I m interested as the NGO my job is with - VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) has a global education
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 30, 2001
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          I've missed the beginning of this thread - what started it?

          I'm interested as the NGO my job is with - VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas)
          has a global education agenda. At any one time VSO has between 100 and 150
          EFL teachers here in China, mostly at teachers' colleges in less developed
          (poorer) provinces. The logic of that is the priority need of improving the
          quality of the future English language teachers' English as they go out to
          teach in the middle schools, as success in English is essential for thos
          middle school students getting into higher education, etc. All our colleges
          use us to teach oral English classes, some also use us for other things -
          culture, literature, methodology - depending on our skills and their needs.

          But VSO, as an international NGO has other agendas, so we work also within
          that framework - to a greater or lesser extent, depending on our own
          inclinations. Within the overall aim of helping disadvantaged people
          realise thir potential the VSO programme is focussing on education in poor
          rural areas, on supporting the development of sustainable agriculture (not
          all VSO's are teachers), supporting woemn and children's education,
          supporting the development of HIV/AIDS health education, and supporting the
          development of programmes for the disabled.

          I could, for example, take on more of that sort of agenda within my own
          English language classroom. Around half of my students are from farming
          families. I could use more and more agricultural material as my teaching
          material, educating my students in the process about things of interest and
          relevance to their families. It would take some effort on my part to do it,
          but I could focus on that rather than, for example, giving attention to
          things of more immediate interest, such as pop music, movies, and novels.

          I've taken agriculture as - I hope - a not too contentious example of how we
          all make cultural choices in the classroom all the time. I'm sitting
          writing this off the top off my head, so it's not all too well thought out -
          but it's something I'm interested in, so would welcome other people's
          thoughts. One of my final years students - just about to start teaching in
          a middle school in a small town near here - came to talk with me this week
          about a paper she's writing about teaching culture more as in integral part
          of language teaching. She thinks they got too little of it!
          _________________________________________________________________________
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        • fshdt@umac.mo
          ... or your own morals on the Chinese. I find that completely offensive and I feel strongly about it. ... chinese? If so- do not come. ... fullest potential-
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 30, 2001
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            --- In teflchina@y..., amarojo@a... wrote:
            > I would suggest you do cultural education before you impose western
            or your own morals on the Chinese. I find that completely offensive
            and I feel strongly about it.
            >
            > Are you a Christian? Are you coming to teach in CHina to "SAVE" the
            chinese? If so- do not come.
            >
            > However- if you are coming to respect them and love them to their
            fullest potential- whatever they choose that to be- come on over.
            >
            I don't think you have quite understood Juliana Hsu's original
            posting. She appears to be Chinese and is asking for
            information from expatriate teachers in China.

            Dick
          • xavier wang
            Dear Juliana Hsu and all, I think you ve brought forward a very interesting issue! Can teachers adapt more meaningful ingredients into our curriculum?
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 5, 2001
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              Dear Juliana Hsu and all,

              I think you've brought forward a very interesting
              issue! Can teachers adapt more 'meaningful'
              ingredients into our curriculum? Juliana said
              grammar-orientated syllabus made her students lose
              interest. It is very true! So rather, to acknowledge
              the cultural value for language teaching is the way.
              Juliana is surely in the right direction.

              But how to integrate the cultural stuff? It could be
              very challenging for me, and I'm very glad hear much
              insightful ideas from the list. Jennifer Wallace used
              agricultural topics to cope with her students coming
              from "farmer" background. And Elizabeth Searles shed
              light on the topic by sharing that collaboration with
              the local Chinese to develop syllabus is one of the
              practical ways.

              Further, I think to encourage students seek for the
              values by themselves is another possible method. Here
              the underpinning rationale is Schwab's idea that
              students should be empowered to pursuit the value of
              their lives. And certainly this lead to the "practical
              inquiry" paradigm. However, unfortunately, this is
              still simply a "dream" for me. As I found the
              "practical inquiry" is too much an ideal. This ideal
              would encounter many obstacles in real life and then
              fall apart.

              I personally tried to use some "cultural" materials in
              language teaching. I used an article about an
              experience of attending a burial ceremony. My attempt
              is to elicit some serious thinking of life and values.
              But my students (in Macau) showed little interest! May
              reasons can be discussed here......

              Once I used the sound "yesterday once more" and my
              students liked it. I'll keep using cultural stuff in
              my future teaching and try to cope with my students'
              interest. This is not a simple issue but it deserves
              efforts.

              Sorry for the long sermon and hope it hopes a bit.

              Best for your studies

              Cheers,
              Xavier Wang




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            • Lisa McClure
              ... I once taught a successful oral English class, using Chinese popular music as a source. In one of the activities, I broke the students up into pairs, had
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 6, 2001
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                At 10:14 PM 7/5/01 -0700, xavier wang wrote:
                >But how to integrate the cultural stuff? It could be
                >very challenging for me, and I'm very glad hear much
                >insightful ideas from the list.

                I once taught a successful oral English class, using Chinese popular music
                as a source. In one of the activities, I broke the students up into pairs,
                had each pair choose a popular song, and translate the lyrics into
                English. Then as each pair told the story of their song to the class, the
                other classmates had a real interest in listening so that they could
                identify the song. Because I was the only one in the class who wasn't
                familiar with the songs, the students often had to explain the stories to
                me, so that I could understand them. It seems to me that the song lyrics
                often embodied strong values, and the students are very interested in them.

                Yours,

                Lisa and Lara McClure
                lisa@...
                http://www.tussah.com/diary/ (the story of our two years in China)
                http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/ChinaKids
                An e-mail list for families interested in living in China
              • dk
                I ve found that some of my students try too hard to express themselves in complicated ways, using vocabulary or grammar with which they are not really
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 6, 2001
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                  I've found that some of my students try too hard to express
                  themselves in complicated ways, using vocabulary or grammar with
                  which they are not really familiar.

                  My students will be taking the IELTS test and it would benefit
                  them greatly if they could learn how to operate within their
                  actual skill level rather than over-reaching.

                  A colleague of mine has a group of managers with Decathalon as
                  students in an Email writing class. He is faced with the same
                  problem with them.

                  Although students should be free to learn by stretching
                  themselves sometimes and making mistakes, there are times when
                  clear and accurate writing is the greater requirement.

                  I would appreciate hearing what my colleagues have done in
                  similar situations to teach simplicity in writing.

                  Regards,
                  Dave Kees
                  China Communications Language Center
                • ear7@hotmail.com
                  ... I have only had the opposite problem--students that are unwilling to try anything new in their writing. I d like to know how you have gotten your students
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 10, 2001
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                    > I would appreciate hearing what my colleagues have done in
                    > similar situations to teach simplicity in writing.

                    I have only had the opposite problem--students that are unwilling to
                    try anything new in their writing. I'd like to know how you have
                    gotten your students to be so willing to experiment with grammatical
                    structures that are a bit beyond them, since my students are going to
                    be attending college in the US, and need confidence to push toward
                    all-around acquisition.

                    Here are my suggestions: Explain and illustrate the problem, then
                    grade the students accordingly. For example...

                    Let the students read (e.g., on the overhead projector) an overly
                    complex paragraph, such as one they would write. Then let them read
                    a paragraph that is a model of simplicity. Let them try to make a
                    case for which paragraph they think is better, and why. Then inform
                    them that the simpler one is better (and will be graded higher on the
                    IELTS, if that is motivating for them!). Point out specific
                    differences of complex vs. simple constructions from the two
                    paragraphs.

                    On the next writing assignment they do, have them peer review each
                    other's papers specifically to identify complex constructions and
                    suggest how to simplify them before turning the final draft in to
                    you. Or, if you don't do peer reviews, when you grade the papers you
                    could count off a certain number of points for each overly complex
                    construction the student uses. Underline these in the essay. Then,
                    students could have an opportunity to regain those points if they
                    revise effectively for simplicity and turn the papers back in.

                    Hope it works!

                    Eve
                  • fshdt@umac.mo
                    ... I think the IELTS test doesn t deal solely with accuracy and a candidate may well lose marks if they appear unable to use complex or compound sentences and
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 10, 2001
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                      Dave wrote:
                      > My students will be taking the IELTS test and it would benefit
                      > them greatly if they could learn how to operate within their
                      > actual skill level rather than over-reaching. ....


                      > Although students should be free to learn by stretching
                      > themselves sometimes and making mistakes, there are times when
                      > clear and accurate writing is the greater requirement.
                      >
                      > I would appreciate hearing what my colleagues have done in
                      > similar situations to teach simplicity in writing.
                      >

                      I think the IELTS test doesn't deal solely with accuracy and a
                      candidate may well lose marks if they appear unable to use complex or
                      compound sentences and could do better if they are more ambitious but
                      make occasional lapses. I guess it depends where you set the barrier
                      for "over-reaching". I have some students who write in a rather
                      flowery, artificial style. But in my case I don't think their main
                      purpose is to try to show off or stretch themselves to the limit of
                      their language, though this comes into it because every essay students
                      write for me, however hard I try to make it 'real" is inevitably part
                      display language. They are writing to communicate their mechanical
                      language ability rather than to tell me something and this is bound to
                      happen when students are preparing for an exam. However, my flowery
                      writers are writing in this way because they have been taught that
                      this will please the examiners and because they need to do 500 words
                      and being ornate is a way to fill the page without having to introduce
                      too much content.

                      I can help these students to "tell it like it is" by taking examples
                      and simplifying them down. For upper intermediate students the opening
                      of Pride and Prejudice works well because they've usually been made to
                      struggle through the book (far to advanced for them, but …).

                      "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in
                      possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

                      You can play two games with this. One that I've done for a long time
                      is to get students to remove words in blocks of 1, 2 or 3 whilst still
                      retaining a meaningful utterance, though perhaps changing the meaning,
                      gradually getting down to one word. The other, which is more relevant
                      here, is to get students to simplify it WITHOUT altering the meaning.
                      They start to see how phrases and clauses can be replaced by
                      adjectives etc. and they start to realize that English is not divided
                      into just three levels of formality, informal neutral and formal, but
                      that there are many levels of formality and they (I'm sorry to say)
                      have often been taught to use a formality that is one step above that
                      necessary for the task.

                      You can use other writers, Dickens if they are up to it, but I'd
                      generally go on to things more related to their immediate studies or
                      even their own sentences if I've got them to feel OK about publicly
                      "correcting" each other's work.

                      Of course, this doesn't help those whose circumlocutions are caused by
                      a lack of vocabulary or lack of understanding of the meaning that is
                      derived from syntax. They use complicated English because they don't
                      have the ability to say what they want, and because their level of
                      English is fairly low, their circumlocutions fail. It's a good
                      strategy and I encourage it, but only up to a point. Basically, such
                      students are getting in a mess because the task is beyond them. The
                      ideas they need to communicate are beyond their command of English and
                      if they simplified they would sound banal and childish. The only way
                      for them is to be given extra tuition, to do extra self-study and to
                      be given more appropriate tasks. As Our Willie said "Ye cannae win".

                      Dick
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