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Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in English Language Teaching

31/08/2021 15:12

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in English Language Teaching

 

Contents:

 

Introduction

 

  1. Language delay

 

1.1 Language difficulties

1.2 Rebooting

1.3 Specific delay

1.4 Lights, action

1.5 Motor function

1.6 Etiology

1.7 Coercion

 

  1. Phonic and whole-language theory in specific reading retardation

 

2.1 Phonic theory

2.2 Phonic method

2.3 Boot failure

 

  1. Intervention for dyslexia in early childhood

 

3.1 Paired reading

3.2 Time management

2.3 Active reading

 

Introduction

 

Cognitive development refers to the progressive and continuous growth of perception, memory, imagination, conceptualization, judgment, and reason; it is the intellectual counterpart of biological adaptation within the environment. Cognition also involves the mental activities of comprehending information and the processes of acquiring, organizing, remembering, and using knowledge, which is used for problem solving and bringing a paradigm to novel situations. A significant Swiss theorist in this area, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), saw the individual as an active participant in the learning process. New learning took place as the individual interacted. According to Piaget, cognitive development was based on four factors; maturation, physical experience, social interaction, and progress toward equilibrium, that is, death, and which was termed 'genetic epistemology'.

 Lois Bloom and Erin Tinker (2001) proposed a model for language development that suggested its emergence from complex developments in cognition, social-emotional development, and motor skills, which complimented Piaget’s suggestion that the child learnt by acting, that is, what begins as sensorimotor activity transformed into complex, abstract thought.

 For Piaget, cognitive or intellectual development is the process of restructuring knowledge, and begins from a particular way of thinking; based on what the child knows. With novel experience comes disquiet, that is, the need to resolve what s/he knows with what s/he doesn’t. Piaget called this process ‘adaptation’, that is, the integration of new information, although of course that remains dependent on the society’s dominant paradigm, which is wage slavery for brains that mustn’t reach independence to avoid the slaver’s loss of motorized slaves.

 

  1. Language delay

 

There’s a distinction between secondary language delay (through intellectual disability, autism, hearing loss, or some other condition), and specific language delay, sub-classified as 'expressive', which is most common, and mixed receptive-expressive delay, which is most debilitating. Children with receptive delays only are rare, and it's of use to English language teachers to be aware of what might otherwise be understood only as the usual difficulties associated with second language acquisition (SLA).

 

1.1 Language difficulties

 

 Language difficulties may also be discerned in terms of phonology, semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and fluency. Phonological difficulties are manifested as inaccurate articulation of specific sounds; typically consonants rather than vowels. Posing the most difficulties are; r, l, f, v and s. Examples are omission, for instance 'ee' for 'sleep'; substitution; 'berry' for 'very', and cluster reduction; as in 'ream' for 'cream'. Where these reflect a preschooler’s difficulty in the motor skills required for correct articulation, the prognosis for language  development and reading skills remains good, and such children are indistinguishable from their peers by mid-childhood.

 

1.2 Rebooting

 

 However, with semantic difficulties, the child’s vocabulary is restricted, so only the meaning of a limited number of words, and their use in verbal communication, is understandable, which is also true of learners in SLA (second language acquisition). As that part of the brain, which 'boots' language learning ability in the child, atrophies in adulthood, it's 'rebooted' during English language learning activities, for example. Problems with syntax or grammar include restricted length of utterance and restricted diversity of utterance types, which is also true of beginners in SLA.

 Although by 2 years children are using multi-word utterances, those with specific language delays, characterized by syntactic difficulties, become slow to use multi-clausal sentences. If the same characteristic is observable in English language students engaged in SLA, it's likely symptomatic of problems originating with the 'bootloader', that is, adults, who've unknowingly overcome special educational needs (SEN) issues, or who're still engaged in dealing with learning difficulties, and exhibit the same symptoms as preschoolers, require additional stimulation to assist the brain in 'booting' the language learning centers that atrophy, and perhaps were never even fully operational.

 Problems with pragmatics occur where children are unable to use language, and/or gestures within particular relationships or contexts, to get their needs met and/or achieve communication goals. Up to age 2, integrating gesture with speech is a key pragmatic skill. In preschoolers up to age 5, such skills are used to tell coherent extended stories about events that happen. Although meaningful gesture, in imparting meaning through speech, differs locally, for example, shaking the head in Bulgarian means a decisive 'yes', and nodding the head means 'no', stuttering and cluttering are distinctive fluency problems in any and all cases.

 Cluttering is a too rapid rate of speech, and consequent breakdown, while stuttering is repetition, prolongation, and pauses disrupting the rhythmic flow of speech, which in children are indicative of learning difficulties, whereas among adults their appearance during SLA is perhaps also indicative of a student’s faulty 'bootloader', that is, the brain’s inability to upload the language learning faculties, which can devolve into undue criticism of the ELT professional; especially if the boot was originally flawed: or there only virtually.

 

1.3 Specific delay

 

 There’s a hierarchy of vulnerability in the components of language, which is affected in cases of specific delay. Children, whose symptoms improve, ascend this hierarchy; from the most vulnerable components of 'expressive phonology', then 'expressive syntax and morphology', to the least, that is, 'expressive semantics', then 'receptive language'.

 As a child with expressive semantic problems will develop expressive syntax and morphology problems, rather than receptive language problems, so an English language learner at the beginner level, or even more advanced, with problems in expressivity, could be suffering from the adult equivalent of ‘specific delay’ arising from brain atrophy, or originally damaged and unrepaired dysfunctionality arising at the left frontal lobe (Broca area), which French physician, Pierre Paul Broca (1861) discovered, and/or at the dominant cerebral hemisphere (Wernicke area). While its location fluctuates, depending on chirality (left or right-handedness), according to German physician, Carl Wernicke (1874), that is, left hemisphere in 95% of right handers, and 70% of left handers, the loading of language learning faculties occurs in these areas in nascent infancy.

 

1.4 Lights, action

 

 This hierarchy of vulnerability has led to the view that some etiological factors must be common to all language disorders. Moreover, there’s no doubt that some factors are specific to particular disorders. All language delays are more common in boys than girls, so gender-related biological factors are involved, that is, the desire to be a fertilizer, conflicting with the desire to process. Although a delay in the development of speeded fine-motor skills, rather than general clumsiness, characterizes most specific language delay, language and motor delay may reflect underlying neurological failure; finding expression in slow information-processing. In adult SLA, limited information-processing capacity translates as an inability to ‘reboot’ as a ‘film producer', where ‘action’ depends on new communicants.

 

1.5 Motor function

 

 Although genetic factors play a significant role in most secondary language delay, and in specific receptive-expressive language disorder, probably not in early specific expressive language delay. Otitis media, that is, middle-ear infection, at 12–18-months, precedes rapidly resolving specific expressive language delay at 2 years, and expressive language delay at 2 years is associated with problems in oral motor development.

 To develop the computing analogy further, as all programs have ‘drivers’, those that interfere with learning through the ears are ‘demon drivers’, which won’t want SLA; either for children or adults, because that would interfere with their first boot, and/or any subsequent boot potentially threatening to the slaver of the driven’s motor; including a reboot, which essentially is the freedom of the ‘route' that English language learning, and SLA per se, offers to the ‘learner driver’, who's used to having the gear shift on the left, for example, rather than the right, and wants to see if the grass really is greener on the other side; or is it just going past the mirror from the opposite direction?

 

1.6 Etiology

 

 It’s unlikely that psychosocial factors play a major etiological role in most cases of specific developmental language delay. However, they may maintain language problems. Low socio-economic status; large family size, and problematic parent-child interaction patterns, involving conduct problems, characterize many cases of language disorder.

 With severe disorder, conduct problems become worse. A variety of mechanisms may link psychosocial factors to language problems; frustration in the areas of communicating with others, or achieving valued goals, expressed as misconduct; difficulties controlling  conduct with self-admonishing 'inner speech', and poor parenting skills aligned with multiple stress, for example, large family size, and low socio-economic status, result in children and/or parents becoming trapped in coercive cycles of interaction, so preventing the development of language skills through engaging in positive verbal exchange. Although conduct and language problems are often expressive of such underlying neurological failure, it's the job of the teacher to give students, young and old, a collective ‘boot up'.

 

1.7 Coercion

 

 With specific expressive language disorder, preschool interventions don’t aid recovery rates; the result of maturing. Parents are advised not to coerce children to talk; but accept intervention. If there’s no improvement at 5 years, it’s possible those experiencing difficulties are involved in coercive cycles of interaction, so behavioral parent training is indicated.

 In cases of specific receptive-expressive, and secondary language disorders, referral for an individualized speech program; involvement of parents in home implementation aspects of the program, and placement of the child in a more conducive  environment, for example, at a language school, singly or in combination, are likely to result in more than positive short-term effects. Speech and language programs, that is, SLA courses, especially conducted in conjunction with home and school-based behavioral management, represent a real chance of taking the chequered flag ahead of the driven and the demons.

 

  1. Phonic and whole-language theory in specific reading retardation

 

 Specific learning disabilities, as distinct from intellectual disability, that is, mental retardation, and specific language delays, are classified by reference to the specific skill in which deficits appear, for example, reading, spelling and writing. Phonic, and 'whole language theory', endeavor to explain the causes of 'specific reading retardation' or 'dyslexia'.

 

2.1 Phonic theory

 

 To read, according to 'phonic theory', children learn sounds associated with letters, and use these 'building blocks' to read and spell. The word 'cat' is built from three sounds associated with the letters 'c', 'a' and 't', for example. Contrastingly, in whole-language theory children learn to recognize whole words, rather than piece them together. Accordingly, the sound of unfamiliar words is learned by guessing from the context in which they occur, and getting teacher feedback. The child learns 'cat' sounds as it does, because the teacher reads the word to them under a picture, for example,  'The dog chased the cat.'

 

2.2 Phonic method

 

 Phonological theory gave rise to the 'phonic method' of teaching reading, which requires the child to learn corresponding sounds for each letter. However, whole-language theory also produced a variety of contextual teaching methods; for example, 'look-and-say', whereby  the child's taught to contextually recognize words. Although children use phonic-decoding, and whole-language contextual strategies, success remains dependent upon achieving a  developmental level of reading, while material cost, defrayed against benefit of accurate performance, remains the overriding issue for both adults and children; irrespective of boot failings.

 

2.3 Boot failure

 

 The theory of reading, which has received real credence, is based on children’s perception of rhyme and alliteration as the most important precursor of reading skills, for example, 'cat' permits of rhyming to assist with reading words; like mat, sat or pat, which involves awareness of similar sounds, that is, the phonological similarity of the rhyming words, and their orthographic similarity: how they're written. Children who develop the skills of recognizing phonological and orthographic similarities become good readers, whereas those with ‘boot failure’ develop reading problems.

 

  1. Intervention for dyslexia in early childhood

 

Remediation programs for children with specific reading difficulties are based on a thorough assessment of their abilities and potential resources. With material increasing in difficulty as the child progresses, there should be a cumulative acquisition of reading and spelling skills. Training in reading passages of text, and the use of exercises to improve phonic awareness, for example, rhymes and alliteration, have better outcomes, in terms of teaching decoding and spelling skills, than do methods focusing on contextual cues and meaning-based strategies.

 

3.1 Paired reading

 

 Parental involvement, in brief periods of daily paired reading, is a highly effective preventative and treatment strategy. Parents, who're trained to simultaneously read with their children, can reach independence with them, and find mutual respect through shared participation in correcting original boots, and errors in rebooting. Error correction by a parent/adult modelling correct pronunciation is balanced by the silent parent/adult listening to the child reading unaided. If a child encounters error, the parent/adult models correct pronunciation. Multisensory approaches to spelling are effective, and simultaneous oral spelling particularly. Given a model word to copy, the child copies, and concurrently says each letter aloud; so visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities are used simultaneously.

 After the adult/teacher’s checking, letter by letter, what has been written, against the modelled word, for three consecutive correct trials, the procedure is repeated, but then the model word is covered and written from memory. The procedure is followed with small groups of words, practiced for three consecutive days; until the spellings have been learned: coupled with a reward chart to maintain motivation.

 

3.2 Time management

 

 Adolescents may offset boot failings by developing good study skills; time management, active reading, and mapping. In time management, the three main skills are; making a calendar of time slots; chunking work material; prioritizing chunks; slotting them into the calendar at appropriate times, and troubleshooting when difficulties occur while implementing the study plan.

 Youngsters take account of whether they work best morning or evening; concentration span, which is 50 minutes for most teenagers, and work/leisure commitments. In chunking and prioritizing work, account should be taken of how much material is to be covered in a 50-minute slot; what topics can be studied for multiple consecutive periods, and which are best studied for a single period sandwiched in between other topics. When troubleshooting difficulties, the goal of the study plan has priority and, along with reinforcement, there’s need for leisure activities, construable for adolescents as rewards.

 

 

 

2.3 Active reading

 

 The routine extraction of meaning from texts, and the remembering of points as coherent knowledge structures, is ‘active reading'. Teachers facilitate scanning of the text by the student; note the headings, and read the overview and summary; if provided. After listing the main questions to be answered by a detailed reading of each section, and writing down the answers, the questions are re-read and the answers; then with the answers covered, the questions are asked again and the answers recited from memory. Reviewing the answers’ accuracy, teachers and/or students can draw out a visuo-spatial representation of the material to post on the wall, and/or by the web; a cognitive reference map to boot.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Bloom, Lois, and Tinker, Erin (2001) 'The Intentionality Model and Language Acquisition:  Engagement, Effort, and the Essential Tension in Development' in Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 66 (4), pp. 1-89.

Broca, Pierre Paul (1865) ‘Localization of speech in the third left frontal convolution’ in Berker, E. A., Berker, A. H., Smith, A. (transls.) Archives of Neurology, 43 (10), October 1986, pp. 1065-72.

Carr, A. (2015), The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach, Routledge.

Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., and Spinrad, T. L. (2006), Handbook of Child Psychology.

Freud, Sigmund (1923-5), The Ego and the Id and Other Works. Vol. XIX, 1953-74, The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of Sigmund Freud (ed. James Strachey),  Hogarth: London.

Frost, J. L., Wortham, S. C., and Reifel, R. S. (2001), ‘Play and Child Development’, Merrill, Prentice Hall.

Jung, Carl Gustav (1934-55), Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Vol. 9, Part I, 1953-80, The Complete Works of C. G. Jung (exec. ed. W. McGuire), Routledge Kegan Paul: London.

Koffka, K. (2013), The Growth of the Mind: An Introduction to Child-Psychology, Routledge.

Kuhn, D. and Siegler, R.O.B.E.R.T. (2006), Handbook of Child Psychology, J. Wiley.

Kratochwill, T. R., and Morris, R. J. (eds.) (1991), The Practice of Child Therapy (2nd edition), Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.

Ollendick, T. H., King, N. J., and Yule, W. (eds.) (1994), International Handbook of Phobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents, New York: Plenum Press.

Piaget, John The Principles of Genetic Epistemology, New York: Basic Books, 1972.

Schaffer, H. R. (2004), Introducing Child Psychology, Blackwell Publishing.

Schroeder, Carolyn S., and Gordon, Betty N. (1991), Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems: A Clinician's Guide, Guilford Publications.

Shaffer, D. R., and Kipp, K. (2013), Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence, Cengage Learning.

Singleton, N. C. and Shulman, B. B. (2013), Language Development: Foundations, Processes, and Clinical Applications, Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Wernicke (1995) ‘The Aphasia Symptom-complex: A psychological Study on an Anatomical Basis' (1875) in Paul Eling (ed.) Reader in the History of Aphasia: from Franz Gall to Norman Geschwind, Classics in Psycholinguistics 4, John Benjamins Publishing Co., Amsterdam, pp. 69-89.

Zeliadt, Nicholette (2017), ‘Autism Genetics, Explained’, Spectrum, June 27th, https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/autism-genetics-explained/ .

Researching an Area of Language (with KJ Hannay)

13/08/2021 14:07

Introduction

 

Teaching English in the Middle East, where Islam is the predominant religion, people are forbidden to talk about it with foreigners. The solution is to avoid the topic; for fear of being offensive: or saying something misconstrued. However, honesty is important with Islamic people, who`re genuinely interested in other cultures, because it helps with English usage, although the real difficulty is that Moslems are exhorted to fulfill what they’re taught to see as their duty to convert others to belief in Islam, which is based on the Koran (610-30 C.E.), dictated by the angels to their Prophet Mohamed, as the word of God, who is ‘Allah’ in their Koran, so discourse with Christianity, for example, is fraught with resistance, which is why the subject is taboo, or haraam in Arabic.

Composed of mind, body and spirit, humanity should be developing, which is what students want to hear. It`s a spiritual decision to keep fit by going to the gym, eat the appropriate foods, and maintain general well-being, so spirituality is a general concern, so basic to English language use. As it`s a decision, intellectually, to write an essay, or put mental effort into preparing for an exam, spirit and religion are proximates, because God is often invoked as an aid through prayer. Spiritually religious people struggle to improve; practicing charity, kindliness, humility, patience and diligence; for example. For Moslems going to a mosque, or for Christian churchgoers, there are feelings of religiosity, but not necessarily the spirit of improvement. Consequently, it`s useful to distinguish between `spiritual` and `religion`; for example. For some prayerful `religious` means repetition, that is, remembering prayers, and ritual observances, whereas a reliance on the spiritual entails a less structured belief in memory and ritual, that is, faith, which is why Moslem believers in Islam describe themselves as ‘the faithful’.

Although there is semantic overlap between the terms, ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’, they aren’t synonyms. Corpus linguistics techniques on the British National Corpus (BNC), and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), are useful in investigating usage. Consequently, the examination of similarities and differences between the terms `religious` and `spiritual` ought to begin with an introduction of the corpora, BNC and COCA, before focusing on the use of the terms in the sub-corpora of newspapers.

 

Definitions

 

The Collins online COBUILD Learner’s Dictionary defines `religious` as having `belief in a god or gods` (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/religious). The definition for `spiritual` is, ‘peoples thoughts and beliefs’, and/or ‘related to peoples religious beliefs’ (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/spiritual), which implies they’re synonyms. However, spirituality is related to belief, which belief might be religious, but not necessarily so. However, as Collins` definitions highlight difficulties in clearly defining usage, there’s semantic overlap. In other words, there are mutually exclusive aspects of meaning to the terms ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’, but without sufficient contextual information for the speaker, reader, or writer to determine how words are used with appropriateness, errors occur. Students need to differentiate between words that appear with synonyms (Walker, C., 2011; Alabader, Y. B., 2011), which is where corpus linguistics proves insightful.

 

Literature review

 

Synonymy links vocabulary items, so facilitates acquisition (Partington, A., 1989: 39). Usage avoids repetition within texts, which adds nuance to meaning and keeps the mind of the reader or listener alert, rather than numb with monotony, while allowing users opportunities to construct sentences communicative across a range of disparate themes; notwithstanding semantic similarity. Synonymy is `having the same completed sense`, though not the same absolute frame of reference. The types, `strict` and `loose`; are worthy of discussion. Strict (absolute) synonyms are used interchangeably. Substitution of a word for another doesn`t result in change in meaning; style, and connotation: in terms of what is said or written (Jackson, H., and Amvela, E., 2000). Such synonyms are rare or non-existent (McCarthy, M., O’Keeffe, A., and Walsh, S., 2010).  Corpus-based studies of synonymous adverbs, for example, ‘broadly’ and ‘largely’ (Tognini-Bonelli, E., 2001), and ‘finally’ and ‘lastly’ (Tsui, A., 2005), exhibit the usefulness of distinguishing. As Alabder (2001) states, corpus analysis is an appropriate method for understanding the similarities and differences between seemingly interchangeable words, so allowing us to present more specific criteria and suggestions for usage.

 

Methodology

 

Data was taken from BNC and COCA. The BNC is a 100 million word collection of samples of spoken and written language from a wide range of sources designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the early 1990s. The written part (90%) includes; for example, extracts from regional and national newspapers, specialist periodicals and journals, academic books, fiction, published/unpublished letters and memoranda, and school and university essays; amongst other kinds of text.

The spoken part (10%) consists of orthographic transcriptions of unscripted informal and formal spoken language. COCA is the largest freely-available corpus of English, and the only large and balanced corpus of American English. The corpus contains more than 520 million words of text, and is equally divided among spoken, fiction, popular magazines, newspapers, and academic texts. Including 20 million words each year from 1990 to 2015, the corpus is updated regularly, so COCA and BNC are representative. According to Leech, G. (1991), such a corpus’ findings are general to the language as a whole; or a specified part of it.

 

Collocation

 

A key concept in corpus investigation bearing close examination is collocation, which refers to the ‘regular and predictable co-occurrence of words in a text or an utterance’ (Coulthard, M., et al, 2000, p. 77). McCarthy (1990) characterizes collocation as a ‘marriage contract between words’ (p. 12) and states ‘marriage is stronger between some words than others’. Originally coined as a technical term by Firth, J. R. (1957), the collocation of a given word was said to be ‘a statement on the habitual or customary placing of a word’ and that ‘a word is known by the company it keeps’, which was later extended by, among others, Sinclair, J. (1991), Hoey, C. (1991), and Hunston, S. (2002), to include lexical items that appear with greater random probability than their individual frequencies would lead us to expect. Collocation refers to the `co-occurrence of words` (Sinclair, J., 2000: 200), reflecting their tendencies to appear near each other in line with the idiom principle; for example:

 

‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight;

Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.’

(Matt: 16. 2-3)

 

The words co-occurring are ‘red’, ‘sky’, and ‘shepherd’, that is, the verse from the New Testament of the Christian Bible, which is based on the 1395 translation, directed by John Wycliffe, about the perceived consequences of a change in the weather meaning a pleasant day’s work, or conversely, uses a collocation. The importance for the study is that, although collocations are useful in transmitting information idiomatically to children, that is, the morning will be fine if there’s a red sunset, language students need to know a much wider variety of words, which may seem merely synonyms, but they have other meanings in different contexts; for example, after a shepherd/pastor has rested, he/she has to preach to the congregation the following day. Consequently, the learning of synonyms is useful in avoiding repetition, that is, rote responses and actions, which may be religious, but not necessarily spiritual, whereas knowledge of the synonym ‘shepherd’, as meaning ‘pastor’, enriches the spirit and mental ability of the language student. The idiomatic poem is repetitive, which is ‘good’ English only insofar as it’s educative of more than weather phenomenon. The synonym ‘shepherd’ within the collocation ‘red sky’ is designed for the student to learn, which is what they need to know from their teacher. Synonyms are multivalent linguistic tools designed to communicate across a wide range of meaningful contexts; so are worth learning.

There are a number of ways to determine the level of significance between instances of words within corpus linguistics (Xiao, R., and McEnery, T., 2006). The statistical test looked at MI (mutual information) scores; a measure of the strength of association between words that compares the expected (or random), and actual instances of co-occurrence. A score of above 3 was significant, that is, a strong indicator of association, and high scores for collocates were examined.

Frequency is an important concept in linguistics (Linquist, H., 2009). The number of examined words appearing in a corpus are their ‘raw frequency’, which presents no problems with corpora of equal size. However, most corpora are not of an equal size, so what’s compared are normalized frequencies per thousand or million words, which necessitated comparing the main corpora and sub-corpora of BNC and COCA.

Further scrutiny of collocation and phraseology reveals the semantic prosodies of word combinations; the linguistic phenomenon of words or phrases becoming positively or negatively colored in meaning through their frequent collocates. (Louw, B., 1993). The perceived tendency towards using collocates is ‘semantic preference’, and assists in creating a profile of a word, for example, ‘shepherd’, showing how certain collocates can be bound together in extended units of meaning (Sinclair, J., 1996).

 

Concordance

 

Concordance lines are another starting point for the study of collocations using corpus linguistics tools, as Kennedy, G. (1998) says (p. 247). Concordances are lines of text of a given length featuring the word being investigated; otherwise known as the node in the center of the page with its surrounding context; for example, ‘shepherd’. This context is then examined, and patterns, if any, are then drawn from the relationship between words. The expanded context of concordance lines is key because, as Kennedy, G. (1991) says, ‘collocates are sometimes separated by intervening words.` according to Biber, D., Conrad, S., and Reppen, R. (1998), `... the simplest way to identify collocate pairs is by their frequency, which can give a sense of the most common collocational associations ..’. Posing some difficulties for non-native English language students, who’re expecting to find unalterable signifiers in their collocates, is high frequency collocates of a given node consisting of high frequency words, so collocating frequently with words other than the examined, for example, ‘blood-red’, where blood collocates with red, rather than sky, points the student’s mind in the direction of the shepherd, Jesus, as their pastor, that is, the ‘blood of the lamb’ they’re washed in; to be cleansed from sin during baptism and/or communion: but that’s difficult.

 

Quantitative and qualitative

 

Both quantitative and qualitative techniques are required; affording the explanation that a shepherd can be a pastor, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’ (Ps: 23. 1) The Lord is God; not the local landowner. God isn’t a synonym for the aristocracy. Although the pastor speaks from the Bible the word of God, in Christianity ‘the Lord’ is Jesus, who is recorded in the New Testament as saying: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Mk: 12. 31) Consequently, Jesus is synonymous with ‘shepherd’, which is educative. Students of English resort to synonyms to avoid learning more words, because they have a sufficiency, whereas the result is sterile repetition, for example, congregations have a shepherd, because they don’t need the word ‘pastor’. However, as pastor is synonymous with shepherd in churchgoing terms, learning that synonyms are found with collocations, because that’s their linguistic use, is what language students want to know; for example, the lyrics to the musical composition, ‘New Year’s Day’, from the album, War (1983), by the Irish rock group U2, is about hopes for a resolution to the problem of sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, which requires a knowledge of what the synonyms are that the collocations ‘blood-red’ and ‘red sky’ refer to, that is, war and the shepherd, Jesus:

 

‘Under a blood-red sky

A crowd has gathered in black and white.

Arms entwined, the chosen few,

Newspapers say, it says it's true.

And we can break through,

Though torn in two we can be one.’

 

Blood is synonymous with war, so the collocations, ‘blood-red’ and ‘red sky’ have different associations and meanings, that is, blood-red is a mythological reference to the Roman war god, Mars, for example, because Mars is the ‘red planet’ associated with masculinity in opposition to Venus, goddess of love, while the collocation ‘red sky’ is associated with the Lord God, and the Lord Jesus. As the shepherd, who is perceived as being synonymous with the pastor, God, of the 23rd psalm of the Old Testament of the Jewish Bible, that is, the Talmud and Torah, which is the history and law of the Jews, Jesus’ New Testament had relevance for the future of Protestants and Catholics torn apart by differences, which those who saw Protestantism and Catholicism as being synonymous with the acceptance of Jesus’ teaching, couldn’t comprehend: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ (Mk: 12. 31) In short, the collocations ‘blood-red’ and ‘red-sky’ respectively hold the key to the synonyms; war, that is, ‘blood-red’ Mars, and Christianity’s ‘shepherd’. Henry VIII’s decision to become head of the English Protestant church in 1531, as apart from the then Pope, Clement VII, in Catholicism’s city of Rome, Italy, affords greater meaning to the juxtaposition of the collocations, ‘blood-red’ and ‘red sky’, because his role as England’s pastor resulted in civil war between Protestants and Catholics, whereas understanding that the color is red doesn’t confer any meaning other than that for a lazy student.

 

Findings

 

The total number of instances for the occurrence in the BNC of the word `religious` is 6,443, or `hits` in 1,194 different texts. The normalized frequency is 65.5 per million words (pmw). The word `spiritual` occurs 2,300 times, or `hits` in 648 different texts. The normalized frequency is 23.39 instances pmw. The total number of BNC texts is 4,048 with 100 million words (Source: https://bncweb.lancs.ac.uk). As represented by data from corpus findings, `religious` prevails over `spiritual` in ordinary usage, while both are evenly distributed over the corpora in approximately 1 in 4 of main texts. The BNC raw frequency data for `religious` was 6,376 and for `spiritual` 2,281. The COCA raw data for each of these words was 57,898 and 21,370 respectively. Though not comparable, the figures arguably show `religious` to be used more in general English than `spiritual` across both corpora at a ratio of approximately 3:1.

Although the different frequency counts included in the sub-corpora of the BNC give an indication of how the words are used pmw, it’s evident that the collocations, ‘religious leader’ and ‘negro spiritual’, are mutually exclusive linguistic constructs, that is, ‘religious’ isn’t synonymous with ‘spiritual’, because that’s a type of song sung by black slaves; for example, in the deep South of the United States, during the period prior to the American Civil War (1861-5) waged by the Northern States and the US government to manumit them.

 

Node words

 

For students of English language, collocations represent the requirement of understanding the synonym within its concordance, because that’s how speech and writing improves. Although ‘Old Folks at Home’ is a ‘religious song’, written by Stephen Foster in 1851, its taxonomy is that of ‘negro-spiritual’, so concomitant to understanding the difference between collocation and synonym is the history of slavery, which is an improvement in linguistic use dependent on a deeper knowledge of ‘spiritual’ as being a part of a concordance referred to by a collocation as its node word:

 

‘Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,

Far, far away,

Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,

Dere's wha de old folks stay.’

 

Both ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ have different frequencies pmw. The word `religious` across all the sub-corpora is higher on a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1 compared with `spiritual`. Perhaps less so in the sub-corpora for magazines where `religious` is used slightly more, which is attributable to readers’ interests for softer news, or less serious articles during leisure time. ‘Spiritual-ity’ encompasses a broader range of personal interest subjects; such as meditation, yoga, and personal growth.

 

Table 1 BNC- The frequency of ‘religious' by sub-corpora

 

 

Table 2 BNC- The frequency of ‘spiritual’ by sub-corpora

 

 

 Table 3 COCA - The frequency of the appearance of ‘religious’ by sub-corpora

 

 

Table 4 COCA - The frequency of the appearance of ‘spiritual’ by sub-corpora

 

 

In terms of ratios, BNC and COCA patterns are similar, with `religious` used more across all sub-corpora (pmw). There`s a higher number pmw for `religious` across all sub-corpora compared to BNC except for fiction, which requires further investigation to be accounted for. Hypothetically, American society is more religious than the UK`s, or there`s greater focus on ‘religious’ concepts, as well as `spiritual`, because of US’ President George W. Bush’s 2003 declared ‘War on Terror’, and the subsequent scrutiny of Islam and Moslem culture, after the emergence of the Al Qaeda terror group, which hijacked civil airliners to crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre on Manhattan island in New York city on September 11, 2001, while the subsequent proclamation, by the advocates of the Independent Levant (IL), of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi as its Caliph, similarly resulted in an increase in the frequency of the usage of the words ‘religious’ and  ‘spiritual’ in societal discourse, with the context suggesting ‘religious’ as being more applied to Islamic matters, while ‘spiritual’ was used to refer to Christian issues, because of the pivotal role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ teaching, and societies based on Western Christianity.

Although BNC is a static corpus, which hasn`t been added to significantly since the 1990s, COCA is dynamic. However, the fact that pmw there’s a much larger frequency for `religious` supports the argument that terror promoted the use of concepts associated with the word ‘religious’ and ‘Islam’, which had mainly negative connotations, while the word ‘spiritual’ was used positively, and in contrast to the subject topic of pertinent concordances; for example, the relatively new collocation of ‘religious terror’, when juxtaposed with Jesus’ older, and more desirable notion, conveyed by the collocation ‘spiritual peace’.

 

Discourse

 

Concentrating on the sub-corpora of newsprint, the likely differences in use of news discourse across British and American publications could be determined, and also whether `religious` or `spiritual` collocated negatively or positively. According to Fairclough, N. (1989), media power is cumulative, and profoundly influences readers by producing discourse; or helping reshape it. Becker, H. (1972), describes a ‘hierarchy of credibility’, whereby powerful people`s opinions are accepted, as it`s assumed they have the most up to date and accurate information; summarized by Hall, S., et al (1978):

 

‘... the result of this structured preference given in the media to the opinions of the powerful is that these “spokesmen” become what we call the primary definers of topics’ (p. 58).

 

In short, opinion has an influence upon whether Islam is ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’, whereas it’s a fact that Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam, which means ‘spiritual terror’ would derive from there, while ‘spiritual’ remains an English word influenced by powerful opinion, that is, public opinion could be influenced away from using the collocation ‘spiritual terror’ by Sufism, so emboldening Christianity’s belief that its spiritual power is unshakeable. A basic word search in both the BNC and COCA for collocational patterns with 4 noun words to the left and right within the sub-corpora of newspapers used relevance to sort and determine MI score with a minimum frequency of 5 `hits` as the criteria.

 

Table 5 BNC - L4R4 Collocates with ‘religious’ and MI score

 

 

Table 6 BNC-collocates with ‘spiritual’ and MI score

 

 

Searches in the BNC list reveal collocations with neutral words that haven`t apparent negative prosody, and `cult` was the only word appearing to have an immediate negative connotation, which was confirmed from concordance analysis. Some of the neutral words were researched using concordancing, which results are listed.

 

Table 7 COCA- R4L4 collates with ‘religious’ and MI score

 

 

Interestingly, the word `religious` produced words with a strong MI score; collocating negatively. Concordance analysis was used to try to determine the surrounding discourse and co-text, and so explain the MI score.

 

Table 8 COCA - R4L4 collocates with ‘spiritual’ and MI score

 

 

Words that collocate neutrally with the word `spiritual` are `seeker, dimension, pursuits, well-being`, etc., and words that collocate positively are `enlightenment, healing, purity, uplift`, etc. The word ‘Ayatollah’ appears in stark contrast, because of its primary associations with the country of Iran`s volatility, where Ayotollah Khomeini instigated a Revolution against the Shah in 1978, so resonating a discourse relationship of war and conflict in terms of the word`s collocations with `spiritual` and `religious`.

 

Table 9 BNC- religious ‘beliefs’

 

 

Collocate belief in concordance lines reveals negative discourse prosody, which is apparent in the term `Ayatollah` being used in the reporting of negative news. In the first instance, religious beliefs are connected with a fatwā, that is, an Islamic death sentence imposed by Khamenei upon the Indian subcontinent’s Moslem from Mumbai, Salman Rushdie, on February 14th 1989, for writing in his novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), about the An-Najm chapter of the Koran, ‘The Unfolding’ (53. 19-22), concerning three goddesses, al-Lāt, al-‘Uzzá and Manāt, suggesting that women were originally hermaphroditic, ‘Are you to have the males, and he the females?’ The second instance of negative reporting features a terrorist bomb attack upon Khamenei, while the last appears a neutral announcement of a TV appearance by the Ayatollah.

 

Table 10 BNC - spiritual ‘leader’

 

 

A more neutral term would appear to be `spiritual leader`, but in concordancing it`s invariably linked with political discourse and leans to a more negative discoursal prosody. News tends to be focused on negative articles anyway, so it`s difficult to determine actual usage of the term `spiritual leader`, whereas ‘spiritual home’ as a collocate has positive prosody in its surrounding text.

 

Table 11 BNC - spiritual ‘home’

 

 

Table 12 COCA - Religious ‘Ayatollah’

 

 

Although the context for `religious` and `Ayatollah` is political, its usage tends towards the informative and respectful. The words `spiritual` and `Ayatollah` are used as synonyms; for example ‘supreme religious leader’ precedes Sayed Ali Khamenei`s name.

 

Table 13 COCA - Spiritual ‘seeker’

 

 

The term `spiritual seeker` frequently occurs with ‘dreamer’, ‘sweet’, ‘truth’, and ‘self-discovery’, although some words denote negativity; for example, ‘persecution’ and ‘martyr’, which more frequently occur with the term `religious`.

 

Table 14 COCA - Spiritual ‘Ayatollah’

 

 

`Ayatollah` used with `spiritual` doesn`t appear to have strong negative prosody. Although it appears to be used in the context surrounding discourse to do with Iran, it`s politically informative and so collocates neutrally. The collocational relationship is strictly synonymous with `religious Ayatollah`, that is, in the case of `Ayatollah`, `religious` and spiritual` seem generally interchangeable for English speakers, which is alarming from the perspective of a public opinion possibly influenced by Islamic Sufism to be unable to differentiate between Islamic religious extremism and Islamic spirituality, which is potentially terroristical and manipulative through spiritual Sufism.

 

Conclusion

 

Corpus study reveals detailed information about apparent word synonymy and collocational relations with respect to these words and the significance of this, both in everyday discourse and communication, but more specifically its impact on language and meaning, through the very powerful sub-corpora of news media. Both ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ are words used to some extent as synonyms. The word `religion` is used more commonly in everyday discourse; across a wide range of genre types: according to BNC and COCA. Analysis shows a negative collocational statistical relationship between `religious` and its collocates with high MI scores in news discourse in the United States, which appears the result of the `War on Terror`, although the concordance text either side of the node suggests not exclusively so. In the BNC, which wasn`t added to since the 1990s, there`s negativity surrounding ‘religious’, although not such negativity as within the contemporary American context. `Spiritual` wasn`t unaffected either in terms of negative discourse prosody. It`s difficult to draw conclusions as news media`s concentration on newsworthiness tends to be negative. Quantitative lists for negative and positive prosody are inconclusive, without qualitative analysis, which was illustrated by ‘Ayatollah’ used with `religious` and `spiritual` in COCA news sub-corpora, where it was found to have a neutral standing. With corpus analysis, it`s difficult to simplify and clearly define terms; definitions and meaning depend on context and change with time. Religion and belief are increasingly important in world affairs, and as news has such an important impact on society at large, the meaning of the terms as used remains of paramount importance to native speakers in English usage, and non-native speakers, who may perforce unwisely use collocations with synonyms without any understanding of the depth of meaning in their concordances.

 

References

 

Alabader, Y. B. (2001) Comparing the Usage and Distribution of Two Near Synonymous Words: Error vs Mistake. MA, University of Manchester.

Becker, H. (1972) 'Whose side are we on?' Douglas, J.D. (ed.) The Relevance of Sociology.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., and Reppen, R. (1998) Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge University Press.

Coulthard, M., Knowles, M., Moon, R., and Deigan, A. (2000) Lexis. 2nd ed. The University of Birmingham.

Fairclough, N. (1989) Language  and Power. London: Longman.

Firth, J. R. (1957) Papers in Linguistics: 1934-1951. London: Oxford University Press.

Hall, S., Critchener, C., Jefferson, T., Clarke, J. and Roberts, B. (1978) Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order. London: Macmillan.

Hoey, C. (1991) Patterns of Lexis in Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hunston, S. (2002) Corpora in applied linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Jackson, H. and Amvela, E. (2000) Words, meaning and vocabulary. London: Cassell.

Kennedy, G. (1998) An Introduction to Corpus Linguistics. Essex: Pearson Education Ltd.

Leech, G. (1991) The state of the art in corpus linguistics. Aijmer, K., and Altenberg,B. (eds.), English Corpus Linguistics.

Lindquist, H. (2009) Corpus Linguistics and the description of English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Louw, B. (1993) Irony in the text or insincerity of the writer: the diagnostic potential of semantic prosodies. M. Baker (ed.) Text and Technology, pp. 157-176.

McCarthy, M. (1990) Vocabulary. Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M., O'Keeffe, A., and Walsh, S. (2010) Vocabulary Matrix. Understanding, learning, teaching. Croatia: Heinle.

Partington, A. (1989) Patterns and Meanings. Philadelphia, PA, USA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Sinclair, J. (1991) Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sinclair, J. (1996) Collins COBUILD Learner's Dictionary. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.

Sinclair, J. (2000) Lexical grammar. Naujoji Metodologija, 24, pp. 191-203.

Tognini-Bonelli, E. (ed.) (2001) Corpus Linguistics at work. (Vol. 6) John Benjamins Publishing.

Tsui, Amy B. M. (2005) ESL teacher's questions and corpus evidence. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 10 (3), pp. 335-356.

Walker, C. (2011) How a corpus-based study of the factors which influence collocation can help in the teaching of business English. English for Specific Purposes, 30 (2), pp. 101-112.

Xiao, R., and McEnery, T. (2006) Corpus Based Language Study. Routledge Applied Linguistics.

English Language Teaching in China

06/12/2020 00:18

English Language Teaching in China

 

Introduction

 

It’s generally accepted that English language is the lingua franca for global interactions (Zhu, 2003), whether for travel; the worldwide web; entertainment and movies; international business: or education. Consequently, China recognizes the importance of equipping its citizens with English skills to communicate effectively, so ensuring competitiveness at the international level. The Chinese view native speakers more favorably as ‘linguistically privileged’ (Wang and Wen, 2016). Conversely, Chinese non-native English speakers, who speak Mandarin, or their local dialect as the primary language, are significantly disadvantaged. The officialese language of China, Mandarin replaced ‘Classical Chinese’, kanbun (漢文), which had predominated after the close of what’s known as the Spring and Autumn (771-476 B.C.) period of China’s Zhou dynasty. Mandarin is actually a vernacular form equivalent to ‘broad Yorkshire’, for example, so it’s yokel characteristics are weighted towards dictation, that is, the carrying out of dictatorial administrative edicts by serfs, which is detrimental in terms of the inculcation of higher learning.

 

 What’s known as the second Eastern Zhou was that of ‘the Warring States period’, and represented the defeat of alternative perspectives derived from a ‘Classical Chinese’ literary point of view that arose during the Western Zhou period founded by its first king, Wu, after a battle (c. 1046) to replace king Zhou [sic] of the Shang dynasty at Muye, southwest of its capital city, Yin, central Henan province. In simple terms, the war dogs won and China was ‘dumbed down’. Despite a revival of ‘Literary Chinese’, during China’s second Empire (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) of the Han dynasty, a period known as a ‘golden age’, and that might be readily translated by the West as a ‘hand dynasty’, that is, handwritten literature, Mandarin officialese was ultimately deemed a more direct linguistic tool for directing simple Chinese folk.

 

 

 However, in seeking reform and support for its citizens in the learning and use of English (Fang, 2017), the Chinese trend since 2001 has been towards primary schools. A Ministry of Education policy directive required children aged 9 to 10, in Grade 3, to learn the foreign language. Mandatory for all schools, whether urban or rural, all Chinese children would be afforded access, which suggested that Mandarin officialese might meet with some state approved resistance from local intelligentsia, so long as it didn’t interfere with communist China’s dictatorship, a modern ideological perspective representing a state sponsored, and so universally sanctioned belief, that workers’ control was what they had, so was the best form of governance administered through Mandarin ‘yokel’.

 

 The change revealed significant differences within the rural and urban divide in China. The household registration system, known as hukou (Hao et al., 2014), is hierarchical. Urban dwellers receive higher standing than those in rural areas, according to the General Social Survey (Li and Ranieri, 2013), for example, which produces unequal/unfair resource distribution. A proportionate decrease in support for rural students as they progress through the educational stages results in failure to raise their socio-economic profile.

 

 To counter traditional and long-standing exam-centered education in China’s basic schooling, competence-based education was promoted and, regarded as the goal of the innovation, proposed higher standards (better training, and a higher level of English) for teachers, whose support and understanding of the new reforms in 2001 played a vital role in the outcome. Its implementing in rural schools in China was linked to the ideals underpinning UNESCO’s Dakar ‘Education for All’ initiative, which stated inequality in education must be avoided and prevented (OECD, 2016) so as to not transmit poverty across the generations. The Chinese aim was to identify teachers’ professional development needs (dello-Lacovo, 2009) in the implementation of a new curricula. During the transition to a Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach, the advantages of conversational English were weighed against the virtues of traditional rote memorization, and students’ advancement solely through knowledge of academic procedures.

 

 China officially started its students English language learning program at Grade 3 in primary school in 2011. The tendency was towards English as a communications’ tool. Communicative teaching relies heavily on eliciting verbal responses. Urban school students had more opportunities to speak English, because of their relative internationalism, whereas rural students didn’t, so experienced a lack of motivation, which needed to be addressed in the training of teachers in the Communicative Method. As the government emphasized communicative teaching, it was more student-centered. However, the teacher-centered exam-orientated approach remained embedded within the system, that is, a traditional Chinese education ideal of an instructor directing students to memorize. Problems during the implementation of curricula reforms, especially in rural primary schools (Thomas and Postlethwaite, 2014), related to the perspectives, quality and standards of English language trained teachers. Examinations needed to objectively determine communicational ability in order to produce fair results. However, although text books were provided for communicative English, teachers of mixed ability were found to have subjectivities incommensurate with examining objectively.

 

Reform

 

Since the founding of the People’s Republic by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedung in 1949, there’ve been two education systems in China. The Chinese Empire had been ruled inefficiently during the Qing dynasty (1636-1912) and was overthrown, according to China’s sexagenary calendar cycle, in the Xinhai (‘metal pig’) Revolution of 1912, which was followed by a disastrous period of strong local rule known as ‘the Warlord Era’. The failed autocracy of General Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government of the Republic of China (ROC), which had introduced the Examination Yuan for the civil service in 1928, resulted in the emergence of the Communist Republic of China (CPC) through Civil War (1927-49). An examination-oriented approach towards education had owed much to the historical need for preparing Imperial administrators since the Tang dynasty (618-907), but by 2010 the quality-oriented approach superseding exam-based assessments had become a further revolutionary movement. China introduced a nine-year compulsory education requirement in which both urban and rural students would have schooling without fees; from Grade 1 through Grade 9. The aim was to ensure urban and rural equal education opportunity (Li, 2012). Some rural students hadn’t been able to go to school because of fees. The comprehensive reform solved that issue. It would be the same for urban and rural students; all would have equal opportunity to progress.

 

 Now that it was viewed as essential to converse in English (Hu, 2010), that is, to modernize the nation, and become more competitive internationally within rural China and its urban areas (Wang, 2013), fluency was socially, economically, intellectually and nationally prestigious. Nevertheless, English language teaching was perceived to lack objective and subjective conditions for improvement. Focus was put on (1) changing teachers’ roles; (2) reinforcing English teaching methodology training, and (3) creating a good environment to practice English. However, reform involved media teaching methods, and Western teaching methods and instruction in teachers’ roles, which was difficult to implement in rural areas where traditional teaching methods prevailed.

 

 Traditionally, grammar-translation was most commonly used in China. Learners learnt grammar using L1 (first language) focusing on sentence level and accuracy; almost without speaking practice (Harmer, 2015). The audio-lingual method was another prevailing approach, which employed stimulus-response and reinforcement models. It relied heavily on drill; aiming to cultivate good habits. To further the quality-oriented approach, teachers needed to receive training in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).

 

 Urban and rural

 

Gaps between urban and rural students’ achievements remained, because of different environment and social elements, for example, migrant influences and children’s personalities. Under consideration were shyness-sensitivity related to adjustment factors. A study of 411 rural migrant children, and 518 urban children with a median age of 10 (Chen et al., 2009), found urban school children’s shyness linked to social problems and depression. In rural areas, shyness was linked to indexes of adjustment; leadership problems; perceived teacher incompetence, and the inability of children from migrant workers’ families to achieve academically. Children experienced shyness, and perhaps stress, when adjusting to teachers' perception of their competence, which was an aspect of the quality-oriented approach that was new.

 

 

 Rural populations had been left far behind (Biao, 2006), compared to urbanites. Seeking to determine the constraining factors that prevented rural individuals from moving to urban areas, or how their rural situation constrained them from other local and contextual successes, it was found that mainly elderly, women and children, were most constrained, because of their reliance on others for security and safety. A key factor was the lack of provision for the public good; for example, sufficient education for the pursuing of employment opportunity/income. Moreover, rural schools lacked urban schools’ infrastructure and resources. Consequently, curricula improvement was less impactful. From 2001 through 2011 (Wang and Zhao, 2011), problems related to rural schools’ funding, and unstable and worsening levels of teaching resources, that is, a failure to implement quality education (CLT), and a need to integrate information technology (IT).

 

 If grandparents didn’t live with, or near, their grandchildren (Zeng and Xie, 2014), influence on the educational pursuits of children waned. Consequently, rural schooling was a socio-psychological pathway. Grandparents’ education directly influenced children’s minimum educational level attained. The positive influence from grandparents’ leverage was needed. Schooling had represented severe obstacles to the rural poor (Copland et al., 2013), who needed their children’s income. Improving curricula, infrastructure, and resources, was insufficient.

 

 Of ELT teachers in rural primary schools, there were those who were temporary, that is, part-time and unprofessional, and without qualifications, and those who were professional, and whose numbers were lower than required. Teaching suffered from a paucity of qualified deliverers, so the change to quality education was more difficult for rural areas. With regard to the employment of ELT teachers, there was the problem of funding; lack of resources, and failure to integrate IT. Professional ELTs faced students’ higher demands with regard to language proficiency, and that autonomy in classroom decision-making which CLT encourages. Moreover, both teachers and students in rural areas typically lack English practice out of class. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) wasn’t rigorously used, because teachers themselves lacked confidence (Dornyei and Ushioda, 2009) resulting in their appearing unable to engage with the material. Teachers found themselves teaching without training; especially in CLT.

 

 Approaches to teaching were mimetic and epistemic, that is, they only followed the text book. Activities and interactions with students weren’t created by teachers. In a study of eight primary school English teachers from the rural regions of Guangdong (Li and Siu, 2009), it was found that the English curriculum through entertaining activities and tasks with promising outcomes was sufficiently promoted, so demonstrating that a quality approach could rely on motivation. However, a general paucity of resources meant rural teaching remained dependent on textbooks, which didn’t focus the teaching through the teachers’ own transmissions, that is, interactions with students, so leading to the desirable goal of abandoning traditional memorization-based, teacher-centered and transmission-oriented approaches hampering students’ receiving quality education.

 

 China’s rural teachers’ role had been typically teacher-centered, because of a lack of training. Rote, memorization, and recitation were the core of teaching and assessment. Formal examinations represented a barrier to students’ development of communications’ skills, because of reticence (Pan and Block 2011) through fear associated with being examined. Consequently, student-centered learning was promoted, which meant spoon-feeding and chalk-talk methods were replaced by meaningful task-based teaching. Teachers’ controlling role gave way to that of a monitor and organizer’s.

 

 

 As with other Asian countries, China’s education system tended to invoke teaching methods based on memorization, that is, being able to answer specific pre-determined questions (Jin and Cortazzi, 2006), which qualified as characteristically ‘Chinese’ in terms of a learning approach. ELT in China had a ‘Chinese character’ and CLT wasn’t a part of its personality. Engaged with ‘Chinese characteristics’, teachers of English delivered learning approaches culturally acceptable to the Chinese, so increasing a sense of capability, which made teaching more comfortable. However, cultural acceptability retarded communication.

 

 Reform in China`s schooling led to an increase in the influence of the examination system, and a standardization that brought the level of achievement attained by rural and urban students closer together. Reform supported Chinese citizens’ functioning effectively in communicative English. However, lacks in local prioritization, that is, funding in the utilization of a wider range of more effective teaching tools, because of a paucity of knowledge with regard to the livelihood-relevance of English, proved debilitating. Although pragmatism did oppose the 'chalk talk'  method of rote memorization; so shifting the focus from teacher-centered to student-centered classrooms with a consequently greater emphasis on communication.

 

Practice

 

The success of class observations, which were used to provide clear information about the practical aspects of English language teaching, were largely dependent on the extent of teachers acceptance of reform, or whether the traditional way of teaching continued to prevail. Observations showed teachers` interactive implementation of new curricula’s influence upon students. However, in Hainan, ‘South of the Sea’, a province consisting of islands,  separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula by the Qiongzhou Strait, was the average number of students in each class, and similarly in Guangdong province where school populations were declining through migration. Many students moved to urban schools, for example, in the city of Haikou on Hainan Island in the province of Hainan, and to the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province, because of parents’ work commitments. Moreover, as rural students speak dialect, they study Mandarin, that is, the official language of Imperial Chinese administrators, who were tested in rural areas, because agrarian regions are relatively low in terms of population, so micro-mistakes could be made and rectified on a scale large enough to demonstrate an administrator’s abilities, and without damaging macro-structures. Although curricula reform was implemented in urban schools a year earlier, rural schools didn’t represent an inferior posting.

 

 The main languages are dialect and Mandarin, and English was introduced as a third and foreign language. Dialect is the first language of most Chinese English language teacher participants, which resulted in inculcation of incorrect pronunciation in students. Learning the new language is mainly dependent on students' personalities; some students like to talk, and can speak better: some students never speak any English words. Personality can cause students to feel shy to talk, and the students’ English language skills can be another reason. Teachers don’t have to adapt, because rural students are shy. Not only because of their English language skills, but through environmental factors too. Urban primary students meet different people every day, but rural school students tend to have the same encounters. Consequently, they’ve difficulty in accepting the new, which includes English language practice.

 

 In rural primary schools, traditional teaching methods have predominated; for example, chalk-talk, a monologue presentation; spoken while the speaker/teacher works with the bored. To teach English language communicatively requires a wish on the part of the student to talk. In rural areas, students are shy. Few have high scores when tested, and most fail. Consequently, traditional teaching, which has produced shyness in students, needs to change. Although student-centered learning is useful in English language classes, rather than teacher-centered learning, because it gives students greater opportunities for practice, it’s considered more suitable for urban primary schools. Rural students, who aren’t brave enough to talk and answer questions, require direction, and textbook dialogues, which aim at students` imitating, are indicated as being facilitative.

 

Method

 

Teachers are mainly influenced by examination systems. Despite the common usage of media, as required by new curricula, methods in China’s rural settings remain perforce traditional, that is, a conventional exam-goal test system, because of a lack of access to hardware. Showing vocabulary in the form of picture worksheets and textbook dialogues is usual; partly because teachers don’t have enough training workshops in the use of games and interactive media. However, ELTs were trained by the Chinese government in activity design; for example, game preparation, which is intrinsic to Communicative Language Teaching’s methodology of motivation.

 

 Hu’s research (2017) concluded education policy to be shaped by 5 factors; social, economic, educational, linguistic and political. China’s English policy aims to train urban and rural areas in the use of English in their lifetimes, rather than just sit an exam successfully. The system gave rural people an option to migrate to urban areas, and take up positions where speaking English was an asset. Formerly new vocabulary had been explained in Mandarin for rural students, and sometimes for challenging and important parts; for example, sentence structure, their own dialect. China’s introduction of CLT hoped to bypass that mediating role of Mandarin and dialect. Curriculum’s presentation of a lot more activities; such as dialogues relating to daily life, which students felt familiar with, meant enjoyment in learning. It made teachers feel more confident; for example, if there was an increased use of media facilities to give computer based tests (CBTs) and reveal answers.

 

 Although useful new activities involved the deployment of flash cards facilitating elicitation, CLT indicated that training teachers in Information Technology (IT) was a further technologically innovative means to assist in the motivation of students’ learning. IT mediated presentation activities were found to motivate students, and multimedia tasking. However, audio was generally used only for students to hear the sounds of vocabulary words from textbooks, that is, the audio-lingual or ‘Army method’ that, alongside grammar translation, prevailed as an approach amongst teachers employing stimulus response and reinforcement models, didn’t place any emphasis upon the CLT method of authentic language interaction using realistic, socially necessary language, as both means and goal in language learning. Making use of real life situations, the goal of CLT is to create communicative competence in learners.

 

 In rural areas, lack of support in the classroom environment caused students to appear retarded when compared with urban students’ language skills. Moving to urban schools, or Universities, rural students’ studies appeared to their minds more difficult. Achieving admittance to institutions of choice appeared less likely for rural students, because of examination results, which in their isolated regions might have seemed excellent to local administrations. Uncertainty over how to proceed with CLT meant that some teachers went back to relying on tests in assessment: preparing an examination paper was easier. Although teachers knew rural students needed more motivation and support, rather than develop strategies to change it, there was an attitude of acceptance, “There is a girl in my class whose cousin is studying at university, so I let her practice her English-speaking skills with her cousin and then come back to show me.” Rural school students can only know English language through their classes, and in supervised practice with English language teachers.

 

 Teachers’ setting of the examinations themselves is essential, because China’s curricula reform didn’t deal with specific facts or problems. The conversational style of the directives was reflected in the examinations, that is, subjectivity in teachers’ question setting reduced objective assessment of ability in favor of average comprehension. Instead of a gradient curve indicating achievement of use to a region, standard mean prevailed, so where the ambition of the educators had been excellence, normative was average.

 

 The aspect of conversational English within curricula reform had significant benefit in that teachers were required to implement Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) lesson plans. Despite limitations, teachers` resources, training and workshops, improved teaching methods and competence. Although teachers’ traditional methods didn’t measure up to the new standards and requirements, teachers who did interact with students didn’t motivate students enough. Fortunately, the pedagogical shift to CLT and CBT as a transmission model of language instruction, meant a utilization of less traditional approaches. Traditionally, the imparting of knowledge (Chen, 2014) followed the ‘Chinese characteristics’ of memorization and standardized testing. However, Chinese students adjust well to the CLT Western teaching style of transmitting language proficiency. Shifting from the typical chalk-talk ‘Eastern’ method of teaching to a more discussion-based subjective method, influenced young learner classrooms positively. The spread of English as a common language assisted people’s awareness of the need to master communication skills, rather than English knowledge. Pair and group work’s task-based language teaching (Zheng and Borg, 2014) furthered the communicative method. Effective multimedia prioritizes communication abilities over a rote memorization-based exam system (Hannafin et al., 2013), so furthering the student-centered classroom setting.

 

Teacher Training

 

 Because of the vastness of China, and its many small population groups, there are countless sub-cultures, which vary from city to city, and even village to village. Although there are numerous ways of teaching English, for example, the ‘Army method’ of grammar-translation, and task-based language teaching, the ideal for primary school students was an informal CLT multimedia method. Consequently, English language curriculum reform incorporated informal and flexible approaches to learning in the classroom. Unfortunately, shortfalls in funding, and incohesive infrastructures, which impacted upon students` access to learning tools (Zhang and Liu, 2013), were a diluting factor in terms of success in rural areas. However, single expatriate English teachers were often found in rural primary schools teaching every grade to compensate for shortcomings. Consequently, there is a sensible fear from authority, overseers, and outside observers or officials, over expressing insights or opinions that might impact negatively on teachers.

 

Future

 

The future is government support to attain English language learning targets in decentralized schools in rural settings. A top-down approach dictating policy change needs to be complemented by a decentralized support. For rural communities, learning English had been considered a `lifestyle` choice, rather than aligned to future career opportunities, which new curricula reforms aimed to promote.

 

Conclusion

 

 China needs to focus on successful English language programs in rural as well as urban areas. Students lacked facilities; such as learning centers where they can learn and communicate: a significant barrier to be overcome.

 

Bibliography

 

Biao, Xing ‘How far are the left behind left behind? A preliminary study in rural China’, Population Space and Place, 13 (3), May 2007, pp. 179-191.

Chen S., ‘A Research on CSL Teacher Education’ in Multicultural Contexts, Beijing Language and Culture University Press, Beijing, China, 175, 2014.

Chen, Qiuxian Joy, and Val Klenowski ‘Assessment and curriculum reform in China : the college English test and tertiary English as a foreign language education’ in Jeffery, Peter (ed.) Proceedings of the 2008 AARE International Education Conference, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 2009.

Copland, Fiona, Sue Garton and Anne Burns ‘Changing English Language Teaching in the Global Primary Sector’, Aston University, Birmingham, UK, 2011.

Cortazzi, Martin, and Lixian Jin ‘Changing Practices in Chinese Cultures of Learning’, Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19 (1), 2006, pp. 5-20.

della Lacovo, Belinda ‘Curriculum Reform and "Quality Education" in China: An Overview’, International Journal of Educational Development, 29 (3), May 2009, pp. 241-249.

Dörnyei, Zoltán, and Ema Ushioda, Questionnaires in Second Language Research, Chapter 5 and Appendices A and B, 2009.

Fang, Fan ‘Perceptions, awareness and perceived effects of home culture on intercultural communication: Perspectives of university students in China, System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, 67, April 2017, pp. 25-37.

Harmer, Jeremy The Practice Of English Language Teaching, Longman, London, 2015.

Hu, Guangwei, ‘Modernization Discourse, Academic Advocacy, and Vested Interests: The Promotion of English-Medium Instruction in Chinese Schools’, International Journal of Educational Reform, 19 (3), Summer 2010, pp 185-204.

Hu, Guangwei, ‘Research on second language learner strategies: Past, present, and future’ in Y. Leung (ed.) Epoch Making in English Teaching and Learning, Taipei, Republic of China: Crane Publishing, 2017, pp. 306-335.

Lamb, Martin ‘A Matthew Effect in English language education in a developing country context’, White Rose Research Online, January 2011, https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/75468/5/Lamb%20Ch9.pdf .

Li, Benjamin, and Ina Siu ‘Developing Students' Affective Attitude in Primary English Foreign Language Classrooms in the People's Republic of China’, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 17 (2), 2009, pp. 221-236.

Li, Yan ‘Vitalizing the Abstract: Using Movies to Teach Chinese’ in Research on Concepts and Practice of Developing Chinese Language Teaching Materials, Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press, 2012, pp. 244-251.

Li, Yan, and Maria Ranieri, ‘Educational and Social Correlates of the Digital Divide for Rural and Urban Children: A Study on Primary School Students in a Provincial City of China’, Computers & Education, 60 (1), January 2013, pp. 197-209.

Pan, Lin, and David Block, ‘English as a “global language” in China: An investigation into learners’ and teachers’ language beliefs’, System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, 39 (3), September 2011, pp. 391-402.

Ping, Wang ‘Perspectives on English teacher development in rural primary schools in China’, Journal of Pedagogy, 4 (2), 2013, pp. 208-19.

Shen, Y., and Michael J. Hannafin ‘Scaffolding preservice teachers’ higher-order reasoning during technology integration’, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(4), 2013, pp. 433-459.

Skinner, Barbara, and Lesley Abbott ‘An Exploration of Differences in Cultural Values in Teacher Education Pedagogy: Chinese English Language Teacher Trainees' Perceptions of Effective Teaching Practice Review’, Teacher Development, 17 (2), 2013, pp. 228-245.

Thomas, R. Murray, and T. Neville Postlethwaite (eds.) Schooling in East Asia, Forces of Change: Formal and Nonformal Education in Japan, the Republic of China, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, North Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau, Elsevier, 2014.

Wang, Danping ‘The Use of English as a Lingua Franca in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language: A Case Study of Native Chinese Teachers in Beijing’, Language Alternation, Language Choice and Language Encounter in International Tertiary Education, May 2013, pp 161-177.

Wang, Ying, and Qiufang Wen, ‘The future of English as a lingua franca in China from the perspectives of Chinese culture and language ideology’, a paper presented at The 9th International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF9), Spain, 2016.

Wang, Jiay, and Zhichun Zhao ‘Basic Education Curriculum Reform in Rural China: Achievements, Problems, and Solutions’, Chinese Education and Society, 44 (6) Nov/Dec 2011, pp. 36-46.

Xu, Hao ‘Imagined Community Falling Apart: A Case Study on the Transformation of Professional Identities of Novice ESOL Teachers in China’, TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, September 2012, 46 (3), pp. 568-578.

Zeng, Zhen, and Yu Xie ‘The Effects of Grandparents on Children's Schooling: Evidence From Rural China’, Demography, 51 (2), January 1, 2014, pp. 599-617.

Zhang, Fengjuan, and Yongbing Liu ‘A study of secondary school English teachers’ beliefs in the context of curriculum reform in China’, Language Teaching Research,18 (2), April 1, 2014, pp. 187-204.

Zhang, Xiuyuan, and Gang Cui ‘Learning Beliefs of Distance Foreign Language Learners in China: A Survey Study’, System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, 38 (1) March 2010, pp. 30-40.

Zheng, Xinmin, and Simon Borg ‘Task-based learning and teaching in China: Secondary school teachers’ beliefs and practices’, Language Teaching Research, 18 (2), April 1, 2014, pp. 205-221.

Zhu, Huimin, ‘Globalization and new ELT challenges in China’, English Today 19 (04), October 2003, pp. 36 - 41.

Uppity's Test

10/10/2018 11:40

Uppity’s Test

 

Time for the travelling Doctor, and his fabulously beautiful assistant, Cake, to invade more space and, perforce, use their boxed ears to listen to the coughin` of the sound boreders in the classroom. Practicing the art of the Shaman, stud`nts perceive their teacher as a type of She’sus, who hasn`t yet been crucified enough for them to enter into the Kondom of Heaven, `Teacher? May I torture you?` ELT`s joke is disseminated throughout all of the countries where the ELT professional is trying to cadge a drink off a leech, 'We made man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, blood clot), and then We made the alaqah into a mudgah (chewed substance) ...' Gran (6. 10 - 30 pm), Surah 23, Al Mu'minun (‘The Believers'), 12-14. Mosquitos are bloodsuckers that attach themselves to the flesh, and so the Muzzlem peoples of the Muddle East's nations of the `Slammer go to their Mosques to pray to become bigger leeches.

 

 Sojourning in the ‘settlement’ of Buttapes, Hungry, among ‘the Magyar’ in their own tongue (mudgah), where the Muzzlem Umpire of the Turkish Uttermoans once held sway (1541-1649), there are some Chews, and of course She’sus was a Chew; though spelt differently. The `Slammer's She’sus (Isa) wasn't crucified, but rather walked into heaven on Earth in a pair of the sandals that were brand-named after him. Obviously, in the modem age, the Glocks are watching to see if it’s still time, or can the teacher? From the snuff box to the snuff jar, as it were, as the human coffee beans get into their wheeled severals to go home from the skull grounds after class. In Pseudi Yarubeer, the Yarubeans go to the Mosque to pray for snow. In their 4WDs resembling toes, they’re ‘the must ski toes’, and there are lots of their brothers to give them one; if they’re stuck for what to do about the white stuff. In the skulls of Buttapes there aren’t any grounds for being sniffy, because tobacco is seriously frowned on by the skull administrators, who’re leery of associations between ‘snuff tobacco’, and recording live killings on video, which originally derived their filmed genre title from the snuff ‘caps’ deployed by those employed to walk about in the mornings dousing the flames from streetlamps, although the unexpected death of movie sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, who in 1962 was mysteriously found dead in the nude at the  height of her fame and notoriety, as the well-known extra-marital affair of US President, John F. Kennedy, caused pianist Elton John to write a song of pathos, ‘Candle In The Wind’ (1974), which suggested Monroe had become the victim of a ‘snuff movie’ leech lord: 'Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.’1 The method of quenching candlelight was adapted as a term for the killing of ‘lesser lights’ in the Hollywood, ‘Babylon’, starry firmament of heaven on Earth, that is, movie makers ‘snuffed’ their ‘old flames’ in B-movies. Much in the way that the US’ B1s and B2s snuffed ‘woman’s seed` in Crazy Golf Wars I and II. John, who wasn’t from Egypt, but rather Pinner, Middlesex, England, achieved renewed chart success after the English Princess, Diana, died, when her car crashed on August 31, 1997, in the Pont D'Alma tunnel, Paris, France, pursued by paparazzi motorcyclists getting off a few shots at her. Elton performed it as a lament:

 

'Never knowing who to cling to

When the rain set in.’

 

 

 The snuff box where Marilyn was found dead in 1962 was her bedroom, while in 1955 her contemporary, James Dean, had also died in a snuff tin, that is, his sports' car, ‘Little Bastard', a Porsche 550 Spyder, crashed before the release of the film, Giant (1956), in which he starred alongside English rose, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock 'Spider' Hudson in a story of adultery and oil money. Elvis Presley, 'King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, a euphemism for the woman on top, but most famous for his ELT ‘round’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (1957), pulled a South African soldier out of a burning ‘tink’, during the period in which he was conscripted into the US army (March 24, 1958 - March 2, 1960), doubtless because he thought it could have been himself. Some, of course, were found dead in swimming pools; for example, the untimely death, in 1969 of guitarist Brian Jones of the rock band The Rolling Stones, suggested a pool of talent earmarked by the snuff movie making industry: 'I shouted out, “Who killed the Kennedy’s?” when after all, it was you and me.’2 ('Sympathy For The Devil’; 1968) Like animals for slaughter; after a brief shot in the limelight:

 

'Number forty-seven said to number three:

“You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see.

I sure would be delighted with your company,

Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me.”’3

 

 Prisons for straight guys, built by pederasts to give their children AIDS legally, are part of established thinking, which is why ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’4 is a term that makes a short sentence much longer. The terms 'snuff box' and ‘snuff tin' are adapted from the tobacco industry, for example the vampires of British American Tobacco (BAT), where ground tobacco is nasally ingested, that is, snorted, rather than smoked. Of course, tobacco in prison is called ‘snout’, which is the term for a pig’s nose, and smoking is a euphemism for killing, because guns smoke. Consequently, the smoker’s coughin’ is a metaphor among the pool of killers in the snuff movie makers' industry, who’re waiting to film and record their victims in the ‘snuff boxes’ and  ‘snuff tins’ of its rooms and cars.

 

 

 Coffee is ground, like tobacco, so it and the drug it contains, caffeine, are metaphorical coffin homonyms for the illegal snuff genre, which is why the smokers of cigarettes are called 'coffee nails'. As the straights seek to avoid the prisons, so those who’re wielding their short white sticks, pretending to be blind as to what’s really goin’ down, increase the volume of their coughin' until the degenerating hearts of their victims are made to understand, and the Brazilian bean growing mafiosa ensure that caffeine is accepted as a slave’s crutch, before the gates of the Pearly Konks open once more to admit the brain damaged and desperate at London’s Wormwood Scrubs.

 

 In Yarupric, the word مائي for the indispensably precious stuff of life that is water is, ‘Mayiy.’ It’s a homonym, `May ..?` As everyone is a slave to water, so the teacher is perceived not as a water bearer quenching the thirst for knowledge, but as a type of the figure of She’sus, who needs to be given vinegar, while he`s being crucified in the classroom in order to keep him awake; up on his feet during the torture of sleep deprivation: 'May I talk to you teacher?' Resurrected and filled full of vinegar by the summoning spell, the teacher’s tormented existence is prolonged yet one more sunset until another dawn: 'Eat and drink until the black line can be fully distinguished by you from the white line due to dawn's redness.’ Gran, Surah 2, Al Baqara ('The Cow'), 187.

 

 Most stud`nts play a game based on the 1968 film starting actor, Crushed Gopher Lee, as the undead vampire that lives by drinking the blood of his victims, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave: ‘Now my revenge is complete.’5 Coughin’ soundin' bored is the stud`nt equivalent of ‘water boarding', a practice familiar to Chechnyan veterans of the ‘Vlad’ Puttin` Crazy Golf War. Captured prisoners suffocated with wet towels until, coughin` up, they revealed what they`d been concealing from the inquisitors, before their corpses were black bagged, rather than shouldered aloft after having their years boxed.

 

 

 As the Western Crushteen paedophile teacher is a She’sus` surrogate, the sound boreders look to see if the Shrewish Messiah has heard that it’s time for him to emerge from their coughin`, so admitting that he lives in them and has come at least a second time after his first time ended on the cross. She’sus reputedly emerged transfigured from his tomb over 2000 years ago, which is why the Yarubs like to keep the doors of their classroom open. During the Rumun Umpire`s occupation of Chewish Palestine, She’sus was arrested as a `dissident` and taken to the hill of Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem. There he was nailed to a cross of wood and died; despite being given the usual vinegar to prolong his torture before the coughin' crowd.

 

 She’sus ‘Crushed’, `the chosen`, experienced Resurrection and Ascension to heaven, according to the Chewdik-Crushedeon religious tradition, and the Muddle Eastern peoples, like Muzzlems everywhere who, espousing their religious book of history and instruction, the Gran (6. 10-30 am), dictated by the angels to the Brafit M’mumhad (PBUH), according to `Slammeric tradition, believe that She’sus (Isa) walked into heaven and wasn`t crucified. Believing that Western Crushteen paedophiles are vampires emerging from their coffins, stud`nts sound bored religiously, while their religious instructors, the Muttawahs, smile indulgence:

 

`And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the dusty way to death. Out, out, brief candle! Life`s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.`6

 

 `Dubya` Bush might have said, `M`towers?` on 9/11, 2001, when the Muzzlem terrorists in support of an Independent Levant (IL), that is, a non-Chewish Palestine, hijacked civil airliners to crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York city, U.S.A., although the Republican elephant, Trump, might have said admiringly, after the WTC was rebuilt as a single erection, `M`tower.` Before the Muzzlem Caliphates, the last was the Sassanid (224-651 A.D.), named for the Persian Emperor, Sasan, which featured `towers of silence` to which the corpses of the dead were taken to be picked clean by birds. Consequently, the `birds` flown by Al Qaeda, `the base` terrorists, on September 11th, 2001, to crash into the WTC, were `towers of silence birds` flying in obedience to the Muttawahs of Afghanistan, where Pseudi Yarubeer`s Osama Ben Laden`s terrorist group operated under the auspices of the notoriously misogynist Taliban regime there. The Second Golf war resulted from the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, evincing support for Al Qaeda, that is, the vampire `blood drinker` had risen, with the help of still Red Rusher’s ‘Vlad’ Puttin’. The US invaded Iraq in March, 2003, which led to the execution of Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006, and his putative Iraqi successor Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi`s declaration of a 21st century Muzzlem Caliphate, consisting of rebels in the states of Iraq and Syria. The boarders of 9/11 were attempting to silence She’sus. Just as the Muzzlem sound boreders of the ELT classrooms sought to box the years of their teacher.

 

 Armies go abroad upon the Earth so they can slay free, because slavery is what their masters are for. It isn’t the role of the classroom teacher to explain to the children that the cars they see on the highroad, and the televisions they watch at home, are the equivalent of Hermann Hesse`s The Glass Bead Game (1943), where the aim is to escape from the paedophile who wants them to remain children so that they`ll be slaves: 'When the world is at peace, when all things are tranquil and all men obey their superiors in all their courses …'7 Escaping slavery by taxis to the Collage of Nobyu in Pseudi Yarubeer, it struck this Doctor travelling through space, and time with the glamorous Cake’s assistance, that the bumps constructed in the roads to slow traffic to a reasonable speed were designed by a ‘gamer’. The cars with their windows were the glassed in paedophiles’ beads, and they were ‘all strung out’. Like the heads of snakes on wheels, the noses of the mudgah in their mudjars were close to the grindstone in the snuff mill of the Moloch that psychotically devours its inferiors, that is, its children, under IISIS’ banner of a bone white moon on black, while fatuously proclaiming, ‘There is no God but God.’

 

 Driving his take in everyday, our International Driving License (IDL) wielder deposited us at the Nobyu Industrial Collage (NIC), where the good Doctor, and the pulchritudinous Cake, would spend a month or so attempting to understand why it was that the bigger fish at this locale had determined he shouldn’t be given a desktop computer, so that he'd have to use an abacus to compute the complicated formulas that magically materialized the grades of the stud`nts; subsequent of course to their taking of final examinations: or perhaps not. Who could tell? Worry the beads enough and the figures will improve. Inputting, of course, was different from computing, and had its own peculiarly inherent horrors, but meantime it was necessary to stare into the glass of the computer to conceive 100% of an exam as 56, and that the stud`nts` marks should then be divided by a quarter, before being multiplied by seven eighths; in order to arrive at a sum below 10 that translated into a quite startlingly large percentile and passing grade.

 

 Anthropological examinations of the web, a.k.a. the net, postulating that people were descended from spiders, suggested that the calculating Yarubs, looking to practice fly fishing, were luring Westerners abroad to consume them calculatingly as big fish, and much smaller fry as stocks diminished. Signs of speeders on the highways tended to support the hypothesis of Yarubeans in quest of more than just a passing acquisition of speederly knowledge, and the several varieties of variegated websites requiring different kinds of inputted logic supported the argument that the Crushteen paedophiles' teacher, She’sus, their ‘ Fisher of men’, was perceived as interfering with the `Slammer's internet, which was where they kept Drac', their leech lord, who could only be killed by decaffeination. Western teachers were made to live in compounds, because that`s what spies’ eyes were for:

 

'I sat upon the shore

Fishing, with the arid plane behind me.’8

 

 From an infidel`s point of view, She’sus ‘Crushed’ was poet T. S. Eliot`s `the Fisher King` of The Wasteland (1922), having gotten his calculations of surviving as a big fish in the net of the web awry. Correcting the calculating spiders with their guilt compounded Western eyes required a high degree of sounding bored skill on the part of the Muzzlems in the `Slammer, Cake had suggested to the good Doctor, during an Eat (feast) following the fasting month of Rubabum, which of course would result ultimately in the deaths of the run down calculators.

 

 The protagonist of Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, Knecht, at a skull for boys, appealed to the segregated society of Yarubs, where girls were severed from boys, each other, and themselves, according to Death Of A Princess (1980) type film reports of decapitated Yarubean royal, Misha’al.9 Going on a head with no trunk to speak of, ‘the long and winding road'10 from the Collage to the hotel at 6.40 am, and back again each day at 4.00 pm, was obviously a paedophile’s; his can representing what it is to have a necked ‘id’ adjusted to the modem age. Representing the farmed pupils of the Brafit M’mumhad Skull For Boys, it was marvy how the big fish gamer drove his take in. Riding roughshod over the bumps, death's speeders sought to give their fish heart attacks, which of course was why the harder taxis were paid for by those with higher stakes being driven in.

 

 Man may have invented the wheel, but the oil rich Yarubs had invented the riyal, which meant that they could employ better calculations. If the boot of the car represented the computing of life`s chances for survival, the trunk of the car asserted the lifelessness of its decaffeinated head, and the planes` speaking of 9/11 suggested that the slaved, with their wheeled noses to the grindstone of the snuff mill of Moloch, wouldn`t resurrect to ascend to heaven above to colonize the planets among the stars. With the fingers of its best and brightest glued to the keyboarding of the Giant Calculator In The Sky (GCITS), alerting Yarubean spiders to their struggles on the web, or the fishers of men to their presence in the keep net, depending on choice metaphor, the brains of the teachers of the West would die futilely keyboarded, and yet still unconverted to the `Slammer; despite all of the efforts of the adherents to the hadith, or ‘sayings’ of the Brafit M’mumhad. Required to pray, humans fall prey to the catch that is religion, whose computational program might baffle God herself. Worship, replaced by an international slaving terrorist mafia religiously forcing people to pray at the point of a gun, was `drawing a bead` on ELT professionals as a part of its game of class warfare.

 

 Nobyu Collage was proud to display the latest co-operational standard borne flagship of niceness everywhere from the Briti Council, the APTIS test, which had rapidly been reinterpreted as the Uppities test. As one of the few caffeine colored people on site, I could only observe that being read wouldn't cover my embarrassment at being asked by the administration to supervise the Uppities. Doubtless there'd be sniggering in the corridors of Whitehall among the slavers' establishment looking to establish slay free through the power of their armies and leggies upon the Earth once again. Yet for the ELT pro in hot far climes staggering beneath the yoke, and indeed the joke, it was but another nail in the boxed ears of the coffin in the classroom. As She’sus was nailed up to prevent his escaping the blood drinking vampires, who sought victims who’d forever accept that another's sickness should be theirs, and die accordingly in their stead, so the Shamanist victimizers remained eternally youthful, while their scapegoats eternally died and, while 'the `Slammer' means 'accept God', the Uppities were accused of not respectfully accepting their slavery.

 

 Shirts are obviously at a premium in the Muddle East: at least judging by the quantities lost. Shirt-lifting of course is one of the hazards of daily life most hotly denied by the `Slammericists, whose belief in the `Slammer closely approximates to that of the Chewdik-Crushedeon who believes in the heavenly city of Jerusalem, although for Muzzlems heaven is on Earth, and is the paradise of Jenna that the Muzzlem Isa (She’sus) walked into without experiencing crucifixion. Simply, to Muzzlems She’sus ‘Crushed’ was the devil being crucified by devil worshippers, because that's what devils like to do together, whereas for Muzzlem believers in the `Slammer, Isa (She’sus) wasn't crucified, because it wasn’t him, that is, Muzzlems weren’t crucified. If he had been, he'd almost certainly have had his shirt lifted by the thieves as well.

 

 Staying at the Funny Sean's hotel in Bahrain for three days en route to the Kondom of Pseudi Yarubeer to teach at the peculiarly titled, Fish Slab Collage, because of the fish market several miles away next to the apartment block where the Western teachers would be residing during their bodacious sojourning, it became an item of inestimable amusement to place my shirts in the local laundry only to be told that the mini-bus to Riyald would be leaving that night. Several hundred shirts were lost. If it weren’t for the lift, a bigger busser might have caught me.

 

 The Fish Slab Collage was a delight. Asked to make a slideshow with an appropriate ELT theme to introduce oneself to stiff members and ministrations, the good Doctor, and the delectable Cake, chose Premonition as the Hitchcockian title of what, in traditional Yarupric stylee, finally amounted to a movie devoid of movement. Staff, administrators and stud`nts were all alarmed at the prospect of failing to achieve the success demanded of them by the Collage Proctors with their cattle prods. Consequently, the 1 hr 37 min and 34 sec film of the slideshow ( https://youtu.be/XR5hbEzTwpI ) began with a shark in the water, and the tense music of composer, John Williams (not the Grand Slam 70s Welsh rugby wing from Nantyffyllon), from the movie Jaws (1975), which precedes the biting off of the legs of the teenage swimmers in the sea by a great white. Presented as motivating, the audience were subjected to the finny principle in the form of a joke in which the teachers are described as having left a plane about to take off, because the stud`nts had built it, while a single teacher refuses to get off in the belief that, if the stud`nts built it, the engines won't work. Everyone needs to be pulling together, as it were, to escape the shark; coming: soon be there.

 

 

 Comes the voice of Martin Luther Kong Jnr's black activist speech for Civil Rights, during the height of protests against racism in the USA., on August 28, 1963, 'I have a dream that one day I will not be judged by my appearance, but on the content of my character!’ For the ELT crowd, I suspect being judged at all is thought of as an anathema revelatory of others' desire to imprison them in the `Slammer. Marilyn Monroe, sexy star of the film, Some Like It Hot (1959), is heard extolling the virtues of perseverance, 'Don't stop when you are tired. Stop when you are done.’ After the stake's driven in; presumably. Bill Gates of Microsoft has this advice for the bums on the spit, 'If you're born poor, it's not your mistake; but, if you die poor, it's your mistake.’ Miss Steak could only agree as chop stewed for the BBQ. The inventor of us as a light bulb, Thomas Edison (1847-1931), chips in, 'Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.’ Mohammed Dali, the k.o. specialist Spanish surrealist paint boxer of advanced years, and with his trademark handlebar moustache audibly bristling, delivers this stinging comment, ‘It's difficult to be humble when you're as great as I am.’ Basketballer, Michael Jordan, humbly concurs, 'I have failed many times in my life and that is why I succeed.’ It takes a big man to admit he's a coffee.

 

 

 Greg Thomson, who wrote First 100 Hours (2009), says what all stud`nts of ELT want to hear, 'The only normal way to begin speaking in a new language is to begin speaking badly.’ Judging by the stud`nts' response to that, Greg has a best seller on his hands. The vid' culminates in a rousing rendition of, 'How Many Rainbows Do You See?' After the subliminal United Colors of Benetton advertising ( my PayPal email address is robinusher@yahoo.co.uk ), it was back to the reality of language laboratories devoid of audio equipment and recordings, a handicap it was necessary to surmount in order to avoid drawing attention to the slavers’ lack of conscience. Accused by the stud`nts of finding inappropriate supplementary Borem Forum material online, so that they could complete pertinent exercises from Listening and Speaking 1 or 2, without the audio material that ought to have come with the book, but didn't, the good Doctor and his nubile assistant, Cake, hit on the expedient of downloading the needed mp3 audio files onto a flash drive before giving it to a trustee among the collagiates for distribution. Alas, flash drive, mp3s and trustee were never seen again by the ELT pro.

 

 Experience as Regional Director at the Zany Technical Collage in Riyald, saw 400 SAR spent on a color printer with bottles of ink, so to print pages from the stud`nts' course book, Douched One, because usage of modernity's technological miracles in ELT is so choked off as to resemble a petrol cap without a car. Travelling to the ZTC each day, it wasn't possible to open the vehicle from the inside. The occupants had to wait for the driver to get out and open it. Equally, if I closed the door of the RD's office, it couldn't be opened from the outside. I had to leap from the desk at a moment's notice, or admit the hoi polloi by leaving the door open permanently in case the spirit of She’sus rose from my coughin' and couldn't get off, while hoping the sarcophagus masquerading as office space wouldn't shut with me and them within, and no one able to open it from without. Going over to the ZTC 'phone shop next door, the sales' assistant said that the number handwritten by the border patrol guard on the entrance visa was inaccurate, so the sim card for the 'phone was an impossibility whether a heart attack was in the offing inside the office that couldn't be opened from the outside once I was securely ensconced in it, or not. However, there were no restrictions on the purchase of the ZTC modem, which left with me.

 

 Heart beating crazily with anxiety the dosh was handed over to the coercive extortionate. A few days later an iqama residence permit was received with heartfelt ennui on the strength of the passport stamp's number, and the heart began to beat more strongly. On the next visit to the larger more super heroic ZTC facility located in uptown Riyald, there was a purchasable sim card. However, the sales' assistant couldn't install it in the modem almost uselessly kept since the previous visit to the SAK, unless it was first cancelled, and I'd need to show my iqama. Displaying the permit that the previous ZTC assistant had said couldn't possibly have been gotten, because of an inaccurately numbered entrance visa, coffee ‘n’ Cake’s man whistled out onto the darkling thoroughfare with a sim, a modem, and still no hope of being able to use either in the event of the heart attack skryed as being planned by the jarred beans undulating in the heat as they wound their wheeled labyrinthine way from the skull grounds in search of percolation.

 

 Travelling 45 minutes by mini-bus to the Institute, and back to the accommodation each working day, meant that the 40 hour working week was augmented by a further week's travelling time. In other words, a five week month. Eyeing the bumps in the road, as the bus laboriously slowed to haul us over the coal’s tar broiling in the heat of the desert, the traffic appeared as a huge many headed bodiless snake on wheels. As one eye looked ahead, the other looked back, and the snake eyes of the monster failed to meet in the middle as, its eyes cross forever, it perversely undulated. The jailors had developed the mobile electric chair, together with an operator that helped to throw the switches that disabled its vehicle and itself. So it was that the disabled pedalers tread milled the failing hearts of the elocuted children of Moloch.

 

 In the 14th century, the Italian Rumun Al Coholic, Alighieri Dante, wrote The Divine Comedy of Paradiso, Purgatorio, and the Inferno that awaited the guilty of God's judgment, but it was the modem age that revealed how the serpent, Satan, looks. At the side of each bump in the road, built to accentuate the undulations of the decapitated snake's head on wheels, large stone pink colored balls emphasized the role of the cars in The Glass Bead Game of Misbahah, which is the name of the Muzzlem prayer beads strung as the 99 names of God. Used in a way similar to the Al Coholic rosary by the devoted prayerful, the glassed in occupants going in a head look to make it to the airport to escape the paedophile slavers of childhood; as adults who don’t believe in the fathers of devouring war.

 

1 John, Elton 'Candle In The Wind', Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, MCA, 1974.

2 Jagger, Mick, and Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones, 'Sympathy For The Devil’, Beggars Banquet, Decca, 1968.

3 Leiber, Jerry, and Mike Stoller ‘Jailhouse Rock’, Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock, MGM, 1957.

4 `For the monarchy and the church of England`, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antidisestablishmentarianism .

5 Lee, Christopher as Dracula in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Hammer, 1968.

6 Shakespeare, William Macbeth, 1606, V, v, l. 22-28.

7 Hesse, Hermann The Glass Bead Game (transl. Mervyn Savill), Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1943.

8 Eliot, T. S. The Wasteland, Part V, ‘What The Thunder Said', The Dial, 1922, l. 423-4.

9 Siregar, Parulian ‘The Love Story A Princess From Saudi Arabia That Must Ends With Beheading’, News 24xx.com, February 14, 2018, 11. 14 am, https://news24xx.com/read/news/4806/The-love-story-a-Princess-from-Saudi-Arabia-that-must-ends-with-beheading .

10 Lennon, John, and Paul McCartney 'The Long and Winding Road', Let It Be, Apple, 1970.

Listening Comprehension

23/08/2018 16:35

Listening Comprehension

 

 

Comprehensible input is the key to language acquisition (Krashen, 1982; Rost, 2001), and the listening comprehension is particularly important because L2 learners employ their listening abilities to make sense out of received input. Or, as Kurita (2012) puts it, listening comprehension is an L2 acquisition prerequisite. Therefore, many universities include listening comprehension in the teaching curricula. This has increased the significance of testing listening comprehension since tests can be used to make decisions about curricula (Carroll, 1968, cited in Bachman, 1990). A `high stakes proficiency summative test`, that is, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) listening comprehension, was given at Rustaq College of Applied Sciences in Oman in 2007-08 to evaluate target objectives. IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. Students received individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an overall band score on a scale from one to nine. The students at Rustaq College of Applied Sciences in Oman were looking to achieve `Competent User` status at 6 band on the scale, which is defined in IELTS` material generally as defining someone who: `Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.` The students at Rustaq College, Oman, were trainee teachers at local primary schools, as a part of their practicum evaluation program as they became qualified English language teachers. Oman`s Ministry of Education required IELTS 6 as a minimum requirement for graduation.

 

 The test was a part of the final examination assessing reading, writing and speaking skills as well. It was Academic, that is for candidates who want to study at graduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration, rather than General, which is for candidates seeking to migrate to English speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, etc.), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level although, in the listening component of the IELTS test, Academic and General don`t differ. IELTS` Listening test has four sections each with ten questions. The first section is a conversation between two speakers. The second section is a monologue. The final two sections are concerned with situations related to educational or training contexts. The third section is a conversation between up to four people and the fourth section is a monlogue. A variety of question types is used, including; multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, and short answer questions. Candidates hear the recording once only and answer the questions as they listen. The students have thirty minutes, plus ten minutes answer sheet `transference time`, to complete it. Learners were expected to be able to identify the main ideas, specific information, the speakers and the context of the passages. They were given six hour-long listening classes a week to practice. Hence, the test summated achievement in an assessment of what learners mastered from what had been taught and their attaining of the set course objectives. (Davies, 1990). It had a `scaffolding` element insofar as it prepared learners to master skills necessary to further their level.

 

 Buck (2001) describes listening comprehension as the result of an interactive cognitive process between `bottom-up` and `top-down` processing. In bottom-up processing, the listening input is dealt with in successive phases, starting with decoding into phonemes at the lowest phase, and ending up with semantic interpretation at the highest phase. In top-down processing, listening input is interpreted with reference to the listeners' pre-existing background knowledge (Harmer, 2001). This has implications for evaluating listening comprehension tests. One of these is the necessity for including items targeting both types of processing; for example, items that ask learners to infer the setting of the conversation, or the role of the participants, involves top-down processing, while items asking for the recognition of certain words requires bottom-up processing. Activating both types of processing pushes learners into interacting with input, which facilitates comprehension (Richards, 2008). The importance of pre-established background knowledge in processing received input is emphasised by schemata theory. Schema is `a theory of language processing which suggests that discourse is interpreted with reference to background knowledge of the listener` (Nunan, cited in Beatty, 2010, p 99). Accordingly, learners comprehend input better, when schemata that they own to is activated. In his study, Buck (2001) concluded that activating learners' schemata leads to better comprehension. Learners reported creating mental representations about passages coming from their background knowledge. Consequently, listening comprehension tests like IELTS` include passages supported by context; assisting learners to organise their knowledge and experiences of the theme before input is received. Buck (2001) argued that decontextualized passages `rob` the student of mental resources needed in the listening comprehension (p. 22). IELTS` way of contextualising listening passages in listening tests is to indicate the topic and give test-takers an opportunity to preview questions. This is `listening support`, according to researchers Chang and Read, 2006 (cited in Kurita, 2012), and is a strategy that, insofar as it provides helpful tools, is recommended for incorporation into test construction.

 

 At the beginning of the IELTS` listening test, the student hears instructions and a sample question. Then he or she reads section 1 questions, and listens to section 1 before answering the questions. This information is essential for activating learners' linguistic and world-knowledge schemata about the topic and the text type. It involves learners in a process of hypothesis generation by making predictions about the input and then testing their hypotheses against their predictions when listening. This process is the core of comprehension (Buck, 2001). Many studies have confirmed the positive effects of previewing questions on testing listening (Chang and Read, 2006). The importance of this `listening support` is in providing learners with a purpose for listening, and answering. It directs them towards selecting relevant parts of the input to complete the task. The test`s structure guides learners to approach the tasks using top-down processing, which helps compensate for deficiencies in linguistic ability. IELTS` Listening test section 1 is a conversation between two people, set in an everyday context (e.g., a conversation in an accommodation agency). Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g., a speech about local families); section 3 is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g., a University tutor and student discussing an assignment), and section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g., a University lecture). Students listen to the four sections and write their answers to a comprehension based on what they hear. The answers are then transferred to an answer sheet if the students didn`t use the answer sheet from the start.

 

 Fulcher and Davidson (2007, cited in Anckar, 2011) highlight validity as the key to the construction and evaluation of tests, that is, the extent to which the test measures the achieving of intended objectives. (Bachman and Palmer, 1996) It can be evaluated through examining target objectives and actual objectives achieved as demonstrated by the students` test results. Learners may be asked to sequence actions/events, and so they need to recognize `signposts` establishing the sequence. Listening for specific information is equivalent to the capacity to distinguish between true or false. In IELTS multiple choice items can consist of a stem and alternatives. Learners have to identify the alternative that is not given: a distracter (see Appendix). The ability to disregard irrelevant information must be present in the student. Identifying the main idea of the audio is essential. The validity of the test depends on the usefulness of the objective. In IELTS 6 the objective is for the students to demonstrate `some knowledge of complex sentences`, which the test validates. Questions' order should match with information's sequence, Buck (2001) suggests. Bias can occur if some test-takers are advantaged by enabling them to complete the tasks depending on their background knowledge, rather than listening comprehension (Anckar, 2011), but it would be foolish to criticize those thirsty for knowledge, who quench that thirst, and so gain an advantage because they`ve improved their schemata.

 

 Examined in tests, reliability (Linne and Miller, 2005, cited in Anckar, 2011) is measurable consistency (Hughes, 1989) achieved through rigorous invigilation (Bachman, 1990) minimizing opportunities for cheating followed by moderation sessions in which precise marking rubrics are adhered to; to decrease inconsistencies between markers (Bachman, 1990). Although IELTS uses them, true-false questions aren`t universally thought appropriate for testing listening, because test-takers find it difficult to extract what is not said in the listening (false statements) due to the lack of a reference text to use for checking. Employing a variety of task types is useful in reducing limitation, for example, sentence-completion. The problem of speculation in T/F items can be solved by inserting NG (Not Given) as a third option, which is to be found in IELTS` testing. Consequently, learners should have sufficient practice in this.

 

 In conclusion, the IELTS` Listening comprehension evaluated in terms of the extent to which it is validated and reliable, shows that the test's items reflect adequately upon the target objectives. The test equips learners with `listening support` to facilitate comprehension. However, `backwash`, that is, results subsequent to analysis, indicate that the test could be improved through more rigorous invigilation and moderation to ensure its consistent validity and reliability throughout all of the countries where IELTS testing is given.

 

References

 

Achman, L. F. (1990) Fundamental Considerations In Language Testing. New York: Oxford University Press.

Anckar, J. (2001) Assessing Foreign Language Listening Comprehension By Means Of The Multiple-Choice Format: Process And Product. FInland: University Of Jyvaskyla.

Bachman, L. F. (1990) Fundamental Considerations In Language Testing. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bachman, L. F., and A. S. Palmer (1996) Language Testing In Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Beatty, K. (2010) Teaching And Researching Language Learning. 2nd Ed. London: Pearson Education Limited.

Buck, G. (2001) Assessing Listening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davies, A. (1990) Principles of Language Testing. Great Britain: T.J Press.

Harmer, J. (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching. 3rd Ed. London: Longman.

Hughes, A. (1989) Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Krashen, S. (1982) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. [Online]. United Kingdom: Pergamon Press Inc.

Kurita, T. (2012) Issues In Second Language Listening Comprehension And The Pedagogical Implications: Accents Asia, pp. 30-44.

Richards, J. C., (2008) Teaching And Speaking: From Theory To Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rost, M. (2001) Teaching and Researching Listening. London: Longman.

Sultan Qaboos University (2013) Foundation Programme English Language, Muscat: Language Centre.

 

Appendix

 

Changing the answer twice.

Statement:

Peter decides to go to the cinema.

Tapescript:

PETER: Let’s go to the cinema, there’s a new film on.
JANE: I’d like to go to the theatre instead to see the play.
PETER: OK, that’s fine, we’ll go to the theatre.
JANE: Great, thanks, oh no – maybe the cinema would be better.
PETER: OK – the cinema it is then
JANE: Are you sure?
PETER: Yes, sure. No, the theatre – definitely!

Answer: False

A Select Review of Some Popular ELT Coursebooks

23/08/2018 15:22

 

A Select Review of Some Popular ELT Coursebooks

 

 

Form

 

With the development of English as an international language and the increase of migration, and multicultural societies, knowledge of intercultural norms and rules of appropriateness is essential in achieving effective communication. Textbook evaluation assesses how well course books put this theory into practice. Studying more complicated aspects of language, intermediate level students focus on functional, or communicative competence, and so students` success is dependent on books` fulfillment of these criteria. Nguyen’s (2011) evaluation of Vietnamese EFL textbooks, and Wong’s evaluation (2002) of 1990s textbooks employed conversation analysis (Bowles 2006), or authenticity of conversations (Wong 2002;Boxer 1993), while Eleni Petraki`s (Petraki and Bayes, 2013) evaluation of the course books Intermediate Matters (Bell & Gower 1991), Language in Use (Doff & Jones 1994), Landmark (Haines & Stewart 2000), New Headway (Soars & Soars 2009), and New Cutting Edge (New Cutting Edge) (Cunningham & Moor 2005), observed that conversation was request based, so successful course books inculcate the ability to negotiate as a basic five point criteria; to raise students’ cross-cultural awareness of requests; to expose students to different request forms - direct, conventionally indirect, and non-conventional indirect; to adequately explore the contextual factors that affect the degree of politeness; to emphasize second pair parts, that is, preferred and rejecting responses; and to expose students to multi-turn request forms, that is, pre-sequences and re- requests.

 

 The success of the lesson depends on these criteria being met by the course books. Quantitative analysis counts the number of request based tasks; for example, in Intermediate Matters from 9 types of request forms (direct and indirect), 5 are interactional in context, and 4 transactional, which an evaluator would perceive as `balanced`. In Eleni Petraki's (Petraki and Bayes, 2013) quantitative study, textbooks were found not to attend to contextual factors affecting the way requests are formulated, so there`s a lack of attention to rejecting responses, which is detrimental to authentic communication. In short, quantitative analysis is sufficient to make that deduction, whereas qualitative analysis is the perception that, although quantitative analysis suggests 5 interactional and 4 transactional request forms in task based exercises within Intermediate Matters is `balanced`, qualitatively that`s not established until students` results are examined.

 

Advantages

 

 Criteria for evaluation is politeness derived, and relates to speech act theory (SAT); `speaking a language is performing speech acts, such as making statements, giving commands, asking questions, making promises, and so on` (Searle 1969: 16): as well as conversation analysis. Cultural appropriateness with regard to requests, request relationships, and other contextual factors explaining pre-sequences, and re-requests, are what course books need with regard to negotiative skills in order to provide adequate practice activities and lessons.

 

 Discourse analysis (DA), that is, analysis of written, vocal, sign language, and indeed any significant semiotic event, which helps to express the socio-psychological characteristics of individuals, is important in assisting learners in formulating speech acts to achieve successful real life communication (Bardovi-Harlig and Mahan-Taylor 2003; Kasper 1997; Nguyen 2011). Textbooks are inadequate insofar as they fail to present sufficient pragmatic information, and lack authentic dialogues resembling naturally occurring conversations (Bardovi-Harlig 2001;Boxer 1993; Bowles 2006; Nguyen 2011; Wong 2002). The pressure on teachers to improve their lessons on requests by using pragmatics research, and authentic examples as a guide, is doubtless incommensurate with the capacity of ordinary humanity. Nevertheless, the speech act of requests aim to get the hearer to do something for the speaker. Consequently, the teacher is beholden to employees and students alike; if they accept remuneration for employment.

 

Critique

 

 Only Intermediate Matters and New Cutting Edge explicitly instruct students to think about polite requests in their L1, although it`s important students recognize differences between requests in their L1 and the target language. The lack of cross-cultural awareness activities in Language in UseLandmark and New Headway is disadvantageous, because comparisons are useful in alerting non-native speakers (NNS) to impolite pragmatic transfer, and can help them avoid miscommunication (Cohen 1998; Blum-Kulka 1989; Nguyen 2011). With regard to direct request forms, Language in Use omits examples of direct requests, which can be formed differently, depending on whether the request is direct or indirect, and whether following conventional, or non-conventional patterns. Consequently, students using Language in Use may transfer the directness of their L1 to the target speech act, and can unintentionally be impolitely direct when requesting. Landmark and New Headway present a single example each of a direct request form, and in transactional contexts, which is unbalanced. Landmark`s is a conductor`s: `Tickets please` (Landmark 2000a: 143). In the activity, this direct request is not identified as such, so students may not notice how closely related orders and direct requests are, which may cause pragmatic transfer (impoliteness). New Headway`s is part of an exercise where students have to use correct intonation when matching a request with an answer, `Two large cokes, please.` (New Headway 2009:a 37) In both Landmark and New Headway, the lesson is incomplete, because they lack information about pragmatic transfer. In Intermediate Matters there are four examples of direct requests. The first two are identified as the least polite among six. The third is from a listening exercise, `I want to try on that black pair` (Intermediate Matters 1991: 81), which is an instance of a direct request form identified as `rude`, because of form and intonation. Intermediate Matters then has a fourth direct request, `Put the kettle on, please.` (politely) (Intermediate Matters 1991: 82), where tone is used to indicate degree of politeness. Using its examples, Intermediate Matters draws a connection between direct request forms, intonation and politeness, and identifies the direct request as a form that should be avoided unless the appropriate intonation and `please` is used.

 

 New Cutting Edge exemplifies direct requests as objectionable. Students receive dialogues, which are too direct, and should be more indirect. They`re instructed to, `Rewrite the dialogues to make them sound polite` (New Cutting Edge 2005: 73) However, New Cutting Edge doesn`t help students understand that elements of the request form, intonation and politeness, are interconnected to avoid impoliteness through pragmatic transfer. The commonest request form is the conventionally indirect (Blum-Kulka & House 1989). Course books present varieties, `Could/Can you ...?`, `Would you mind (if I) …?`, `I was wondering if you/I could ...?` and `Do you think you/I could (possibly) ...?` However, only Intermediate MattersLanguage in UseNew Headway and New Cutting Edge address differences in formality or politeness between conventionally indirect requests, which is only included in student activities from the teacher’s book, or supplementary grammar at the back of the students’ book. New Cutting Edge even tells teachers to tell students that `Would you be so kind as to...?` and `Do you think you could possibly...?` `are not used very often ... students may sound sarcastic or ridiculous to native speakers if they use them inappropriately` (New Cutting Edge 2005: 56). Landmark has no information about which conventionally indirect request forms are more polite or formal, which may result in students using overly polite, or formal conventionally indirect requests, which are inappropriate for the situation. The non-conventional hint is the most indirect and difficult request form (Weizman 1989). Only New Headway met the criterion of exposing students to a non-conventional indirect request form, which is but mentioned in the listening activity without special attention, A: `I don’t know what’s gone wrong with my computer. The screen is frozen again.` B: `I’ll try and fix it if you like. I’m quite good with computers.` (New Headway 2009a: 123). The absence of hints is troubling as they`re common with native speakers (NS), but present problems for NNS (Weizman 1989).

 

 Discourse Analysis (DA) shows contextual factors affecting the degree of politeness of a request. Nguyen argues that `learning speech acts without opportunities to uncover relevant contextual information, and differential operations of politeness in different cultures, would cause L2 learners considerable difficulty adjusting themselves to unpredictable intercultural interactions` (2011: 23). Only Intermediate Matters directly addresses the level of imposition of a request. In the students’ book, `when we think a request is difficult, unusual or inconvenient, it is often better to sound less confident and use a polite form` (Intermediate Matters 1991: 81). The inclusion of mitigating features by Intermediate Matters may result in students able to effectively acknowledge the degree of imposition. Language in Use and New Cutting Edge have notes in the teachers’ books instructing teachers to alert students to the connection between degree of formality and level of imposition. It`s `casual` when `the speaker is asking for something that is quite unimportant, and which is easy for the other person to do`, but `careful` if it`s `felt we were asking something difficult` (Language in Use 1994b: 32). Consequently, the teacher may convey how the level of imposition affects the degree of politeness in request form. Landmark and New Headway don`t address degree of imposition and affect on politeness. Requests involving a larger imposition deserve mitigation, and students may be reluctant to request that which involves larger impositions, because they can`t properly mitigate.

 

 A factor in the politeness of a request is transactional or interactional context. Transactional involves institutions, `transmission of information or the exchange of goods and services`. Interactional is language chosen to `shape and maintain social relations and identities` (Brown & Yule 1983: 2). Intermediate MattersLanguage in Use and New Headway present a balance. Positive and negative politeness strategies are clear determinants of request efficiency and are dependent on the context of the request (Brown & Levinson 1987). The course books don`t specifically address `positive and negative face`, but the inclusion of conventionally indirect request forms means students have requesting strategies that attend to `negative face`, even if they are not explicitly aware of `face issues`. LandmarkNew Headway and Language in Use neglect the issues of `relationship and face`, while New Cutting Edge and Intermediate Matters have left it entirely to the teacher, `Asking for money is potentially quite embarrassing even between friends, so this very polite language is appropriate` (New Cutting Edge 2005: 56).  

 

 Gumperz’s work (1997) demonstrates that even a slight deviation in intonation can threaten the face and relationship between participants by its perceived lack of politeness. Language in Use completely fails to note the importance of intonation on the degree of politeness. Intermediate Matters addresses intonation, and presents polite, impolite and sarcastic intonation. Students are encouraged to express impoliteness, irritation, and nervousness in `roleplay`. By knowing not-polite intonation, they avoid conveying the wrong message when requesting. Landmark has a mini-lesson where students listen to a recording of polite intonation and where `request can sound like an order` (Landmark 2000a: 151). New Cutting Edge`s mini-lesson presents four examples of requests, but three end with `please`, which isn`t variety enough. With adjacency pairs, the second pair part may be a preferred or rejecting response. The course books don`t present the form and delivery of second pair parts, which is deleterious to students’ competence and confidence.

 

 The course books present the preferred response to a request in the form of agreeing or complying with the action requested, which mostly require only `yes`. However, the conventionally indirect form, `Would/Do you mind (if I)…?` requires explanation, that is, `no` indicates compliance, `No, I don’t mind if you…` In Intermediate Matters and New Headway responses are inadequate, `Would you mind…?` is answered with `I’ll try, sir, but …`, (Intermediate Matters 1991: 81) which is ambiguous. Language in Use does not show a response to this request form at all. In New Headway, limited possibilities for negative and positive responses are attended to at the back of the book, `Sure/of course/Well, I’m afraid I’m a little busy right now/Well, I’m a little cold actually` (New Headway a 2009: 138) Landmark and New Cutting Edge clearly show the preferred responses, `Not at all` (Landmark, 2000a: 143), and New Cutting Edge, `Of course not!` (New Cutting Edge 2005: 167). Because of the `face-threatening` nature of rejecting responses, examples could be expected on mitigation and delivery of the second pair part. However, this issue is not covered. Intermediate Matters shows the importance of rejecting responses, `when we can’t agree to a request it is often polite to apologize and give a reason, make an excuse or give some helpful advice`, thus providing a `face-repairing strategy` with which to mitigate the rejection (Intermediate Matters 1991: 81). Language in Use emphasizes the second pair part by clearly outlining the possible responses, and illustrating how refusal is overcome with re-requesting. However, Language in Use provides only a single example of a refusal and does not explain how a refusal is formed, mitigated or delivered while still maintaining an appropriate level of politeness.

 

 Landmark presents only two examples of refusals without any explanation about the differences between preferred and rejecting responses, but does elicit possible second pair parts by asking students to list the positive and negative request responses they already know. New Cutting Edge presents several examples of mitigated refusals and second pair parts, ` by asking in the listening activity if `the other person [says] yes or no to the request?` (New Cutting Edge 2005: 72).  Students listen and record the reasons given for refusing the requests, which helps.

 

 Multi-turn requests, such as pre-sequences and re-requests, are commonly used by NS and are therefore useful for NNS to know. Pre-sequences are subtle devices that may achieve a desired action, while avoiding going on-record with a request, although re-requests are usually more direct than the original request form, so useful. New Cutting Edge and Intermediate Matters didn`t include any examples of either pre-sequences or multi-turn request forms, while Language in Use didn`t have any pre-sequence examples. Landmark contains one example of re-request, which isn`t expanded, `Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you [pre-sequence New Cutting Edge] but could you possibly get my case down for me? [request]` (Landmark 2000a: 143). It`s useful if the teacher needs to show how to predict the fulfillment of a request following from pre-sequence. Language in Use illustrates the possible responses to a request. If the hearer responds with a refusal, the speaker may choose to either abandon the request or try to persuade the hearer with a re-request. Although the teacher is told to act out the possibilities, there`s no opportunity for guided practice, where students practice the form themselves, or the context in which they are used. Landmark and New Headway each present an example of a re-request in the listening activities, `Can you change the date on it? [request]`, then re-requests `Well, can’t you just turn a blind eye? [re-request]` (Landmark 2000a: 143). The elderly woman doesn`t want to pay for a new ticket, and the conductor refuses both the original request, and the more direct re-request. Both Landmark and New Headway present some examples of re-requests in the listening tasks, a refusal and a compliance. However, both Landmark and New Headway omit any explanation of when to make a re-request, and how direct it should be. As a result, students may feel uncomfortable re-requesting.

 

 Employing politeness, conversation analysis and speech act theory, doesn`t indicate a lesson will be successful, but assists analysis and evaluation. Quantitative analysis shows adequate examples of all types of requests are needed for demonstrating differences in requests as influenced by face, imposition, transactional and international context. Qualitative analysis confirms that adequate explanations or ample opportunities for practice are needed. Otherwise miscommunication, cultural shock, and a lack of confidence in interacting with other English speakers results. Boxer (1993) argues that the lack deprives students` engagement in everyday interactions, maintaining friendships, and further enhancing their ESL/EFL skills.

 

Materials

 

 Course books are inadequate when compared to authentic NS interactions (Bowles 2006: 355; Wong 2002; Nguyen 2011). Reliance on inauthentic materials results in reinforcing student error, which results in discomfort with NS (Wong 2002: 54). An important implication for ESL, because lesson effectiveness that depends on teachers’ expertise and willingness to draw on other resources to teach pragmatic competence presupposes a need to develop skills in selecting, adapting, designing and supplementing material. Student teachers ought therefore to be involved in textbook evaluation and materials design. Teachers should be made aware of the textbooks’ limitations and develop skills in expanding the material and offering further explanations and more authentic material. The teacher’s role demands dynamic adaptivity (Graves 2008). Although teachers need to be trained in the development and design of materials appropriate for students, course book designers need to work more collaboratively with researchers in refining and updating current ESL/EFL course books. In order to improve the authenticity of textbook dialogues and students’ pragmatic and strategic competence, different request forms, such as hints, favors, or direct requests, should be better exemplified and explained. Additionally, students’ awareness of cross-cultural differences between requests in their L1 and the L2 should be raised, and the different factors that affect politeness should be explored. Furthermore, students should be exposed to a variety of authentic examples of requests in multi-turn conversations to understand the context in which pre-sequences and re-requests are made. Given the global adoption of the English language as a lingua franca, there`s need to develop intercultural communicative competence, so material designers and teachers need to present students with opportunities for reflection and discussion of speech acts and the implications of language use in different cultures. Course books should expand and improve their lessons on the second pair parts of requests; especially with regard to rejecting responses and inclusion of mitigating factors common in refusals: such as the apology-reason-excuse-advice IM gives. IM`s teaching students how to identify a potential obstacle in a request as a reason for refusal will allow them to feel more comfortable about delivering rejecting responses that are polite (Paulson & Roloff 1997). IM, Intermediate Matters, meets more criteria and so is evaluated more highly, but is the oldest of the course books reviewed, which could indicate a diminishing in the aim to teach, and an increase in the business of publishing`s aim to streamline and standardize, but where such means limitation for educator and student.

 

Culture

 

 The influential Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP) examined requests and apologies (Blum-Kulka, House & Kasper 1989) showing cross cultural variation in directness/indirectness. Australian is the least direct, with more than 80% of requests being indirect (Blum-Kulka & House 1989). Requests in America depend on social distance and contextual situational factors. Requests between family and friends are more direct than those between strangers (Blum-Kulka & House 1989). There`s evidence of too pragmatic a transfer from the first language (L1) of NNS when performing the speech act of a request in the target language (L2) (Cohen 1998). Research by Economidou-Kogetsidis (2005) into telephoning found pragmatic transfer of requests from a NNS’s L1 to English resulted in perceived impoliteness. Moreover, favor asking puts the speaker in debt to the hearer, that is, to be repaid at a future date, and also entails some action from the hearer that is `outside usual routine` (Goldschmidt 1998: 131). Entwined with power, imposition and relationship, it`s difficult for an NNS to understand and use (Goldschmidt 1998).

 

 To what extent authentic requests are reflected in ESL intermediate level course books determines whether or not students become capable of authentic dialogue. Cross cultural information about types of requests, and their dependence on context, is an implication for language teachers; materials designers, and teacher trainers. DA on spoken interactions between native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) reveals a prevalence of direct and indirect speech acts (Searle 1969: 16). Direct acts are imperative, `Give me that pen`, whereas indirect is, `Could I have that pen, please?` A common non-conventional indirect request form is difficult for ESL learners, that is, a hint, (Weizman 1989), for example, `it’s cold in here` or `I love chocolate`. Related to politeness theory (Brown and Levinson, 1987), direct requests threaten the speaker’s ‘face’ (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain 1984: 201). There`s negative face for privacy, and positive face for public self-image (Harris 2003). Mitigation is needed to form a polite request designed to `save face`; and it`s also needed in refusing (Blum-Kulka et al. 1989), which is where hints are invaluable.

 

 Indirect strategies aren`t polite (Yu 2011). An important feature is intonation. Bartels (1999) states intonation is a device used to fine-tune politeness strategy. If intonation is non-conventional, the hearer may perceive the speaker as impolite. With NS conventionalized indirect requests are `so common that it is rare to hear a completely direct request even between equals` (Brown & Levinson 1987: 248) resulting from the egalitarian nature of Western societies and communication styles. Consequently, NNS` reliance upon grammar can sound stilted. The word `please` covers a multitude of discourse errors associated solely with requests (Brown & Levinson 1987; House 1989; Wichmann 2004; Sato 2008).

 

 Conversation Analysis (CA) is about how requests are developed and negotiated between participants depending on the co-text (Goodwin & Heritage 1990). The request is the first pair part, whereas the response is the second pair part. CA focuses on the mitigating actions NS take when complying or rejecting. CA suggests a compliant second pair part is preferred response, while a refusal is mitigated (Goodwin & Heritage 1990), which is useful for NNS` appropriate response. Requests are often preceded by pre-sequence, for example, `Do you have a car?` This allows abortion. `No, I don’t` illustrates `request futility` (Goodwin & Heritage 1990) and preserves face without rejection. Some pre-sequencing is so conventionalized it serves as the request speech act, for example, `Have you got a match?` (Goodwin & Heritage 1990). According to Bowles (2006) NS use pre-sequences in telephoning much more than NNS. Pre-sequences are multi-turn, that is, they can be used to re-request, or second pair part expand; formulated to repair the original request: if a rejection is received (Liddicoat 2007). According to Kim, Shin & Cai (1998) NS use more direct forms in the re-request, which confounds NNS who tend to be indirect when issuing face threatening acts. Such multi-turn requests need to be attended to by course books. The word `please` (Sato, 2008) can indicate a directive act, that is, a demand, or an appeal, as well as a simple request, for example, `Can I have the butter, please?` That can confuse.

 

Conclusion

 

 As intermediate level students focus on functional, or communicative competence, so students` success is dependent on books` fulfillment of these criteria. Conversation is request based, so successful course books inculcate the ability to negotiate as basic. A successful course book has to raise students’ cross-cultural awareness of requests, and expose students to different request forms, that is, direct, conventionally indirect and non-conventional indirect forms. The successful course book must adequately explore the contextual factors that affect the degree of politeness, so emphasizing second pair parts, that is, preferred and rejecting responses, while exposing students to multi-turn request forms; pre-sequences and re- requests. Quantitative studies demonstrate that textbooks don`t attend to contextual factors affecting the way requests are formulated, so there`s a lack of attention to rejecting responses detrimental to authentic communication, while qualitatively that`s not established until students` results are examined; when it`s too late.

 

 Cultural appropriateness with regard to polite requests, request relationships, and other contextual factors explaining pre-sequences, and re-requests, are what course books need. Discourse analysis (DA) can help in providing naturally appropriate examples of dialogue. Of the course books reviewed, only Intermediate Matters and New Cutting Edge explicitly instructed students to think about polite requests. The course books didn`t specifically address `positive and negative face`, but the inclusion of conventionally indirect request forms meant students had requesting strategies that professed to be attending to the problem of incurring `negative face` during interactions; even if students weren`t made explicitly aware of `face issues`: so there remained the possibility of a higher embarrassment factor attending interactions. Because of the `face-threatening` nature of rejecting responses, examples could be expected on mitigation, and the absence of coverage for this issue in the course books reviewed might have caused non-native speakers to cause inadvertent offence. Research by Economidou-Kogetsidis (2005) into telephoning found pragmatic transfer of requests from a NNS’s L1 to English resulted in perceived impoliteness, which might result in injurious `face-to-face` interaction. This indicates that ELT course books need to address the issue of request-politness for their students` success in cross-cultural interactivity.

 

References

 

Bardovi-Harlig K. (2001) Evaluating the empirical evidence: Grounds for instruction inpragmatics? In Rose K., and G. Kasper (eds.), Pragmatics in Language Teaching.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 13-32.

Bardovi-Harlig K., and R. Mahan-Taylor (2003) Teaching Pragmatics. Washington DC:  U.S. Department of State Office of English Language Programs.

Barker, H., S. Cunningham, and P. Moore (2006) New Cutting Edge Intermediate Teacher’s Resource Book. London: Longman.

Bartels, C. (1999) The intonation of English statements and questions: A compositional interpretation. New York: Routledge.

Bell, J., and R. Gower (1991) Intermediate Matters: Students’ Book. Essex: Addison Wesley Longman.

Bell, J., R. Gower, S. Scott-Malden, and J.Wilson (1991) Intermediate Matters: Teacher’s Book. Essex: Addison Wesley Longman.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1989) Playing it safe: The role of conventionality in indirectness. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, and G. Kasper (eds.), Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood NJ: Ablex.

Blum-Kulka, S., and J. House (1989) Cross-cultural and situational variation in requesting behaviour. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, and G. Kasper (eds.), Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood NJ: Ablex.

Blum-Kulka, S., J. House, and G. Kasper (1989) Investigating cross-cultural pragmatics: An introductory overview. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, and G. Kasper (eds.), Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood NJ: Ablex.

Blum-Kulka, S., and E. Olshtain (1984) Requests and apologies: A cross-cultural study of speech act realization patterns. Applied Linguistics 5: 196-213.

Boxer, D. (1993) Complaints as positive strategies: What learners need to know. TESOL Quarterly 27.2: 277-299.

Bowles, H. (2006) Bridging the gap between conversation analysis and ESP — an applied study of the opening sequences of NS` and NNS` service telephone calls.  English for Specific Purposes 25.3: 332-357.

Brown, P., and S. Levinson (1987) Politeness: Some universals in language usage. London: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, Y., and G. Yule (1983) Discourse Analysis. Cambidge: Cambridge University Press.

Cohen, A.D. (1998) Contrastive analysis of speech acts: What do we do with the research findings? Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: International review of English Studies 81-93.

Cortazzi, M. and L. Jin ‘Bridges to learning: Metaphors of Teaching, Learning and Language’ in L. Cameron and G. Low (eds.) Researching and Applying Metaphor, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 149–76.

Cunningham, S., and P. Moor (2005) New Cutting Edge: Intermediate Students’ Book. Essex: Pearson Education.

Doff, A., and C. Jones (1994a) Language in Use: Intermediate Students’ Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Doff, A., and C. Jones (1994b) Language in Use: Intermediate Teacher’s Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dündar, Esin and Meliha R. Şimşek `Metaphorical Representations Of A Locally-Produced English Coursebook: Uncovering Learner Beliefs` The Journal of International Social Research 8 (40), October 2015, pp. 586-94.

Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2005) `Yes, tell me please, what time is the midday flight from Athens arriving?`: Telephone service encounters and politeness. Intercultural Pragmatics2.3: 253-73.

Firmin, M., J. Helmick, B. Iezzi, and A. Vaughn (2004) Say please: The effect of the word ‘please’ in compliance-seeking requests. Social Behavior and Personality 32.1: 67-72.  

Goldschmidt, M. (1998) Do me a favor: A descriptive analysis of favor asking sequences in American English. Journal of Pragmatics 29.2: 129-153.

Goodwin, C., and J. Heritage (1990) Conversation analysis. Annual Review of Anthropology19: 283-307.

Graves, K. (2008) The language curriculum: A social contextual perspective. LanguageTeaching 41.2: 149-183.

Gumperz, J. (1997) Interethnic communication. In J. Coupland, and A. Jaworski (eds.), Sociolinguistics: A reader. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haines, S., and B. Stewart (2000a) Landmark: Intermediate Students’ Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haines, S., and B. Stewart (2000b) Landmark: Intermediate Teacher’s Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harris, S. (2003) Politeness and power: Making and responding to ‘requests’ in institutional settings. Text 23.1: 27-52.

House, J. (1989) Politeness in English and German: The functions of please and bitte. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, and G. Kasper (eds.), Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood NJ: Ablex.

Kasper G. (1997) Can pragmatic competence be taught? Available at https://www.nflrc.hawaii.edu/NetWorks/NW06/

Keysen, Aynur `Turkish EFL Learners’ Metaphors With Respect To English Language Coursebooks` Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 4 (1), 2010, pp. 108-118.

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McGrath, Ian `Teachers’ And Learners’ Images For Coursebooks` ELT Journal Volume 60 (2), April 2006, pp. 171-80.

Kim, M.-S., H.-C. Shin, and D. Cai (1998) Cultural influences on the preferred forms of requesting and re-requesting. Communication Monographs 65: 47–66.

Liddicoat, A. (2007) An introduction to conversation analysis. London: Continuum.

Nguyen, M.T.T. (2011Learning to communicate in a globalized world: To what extent do school textbooks facilitate the development of intercultural pragmatic competence? RELC Journal 42: 17-30.

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Soars, L., and J. Soars (2009bNew Headway: Intermediate Teacher’s Book (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Yu, Kyong-Ae (2011) Culture-specific concepts of politeness: Indirectness and politeness in English. Hebrew, and Korean requests. Intercultural Pragmatics 8.3: 385-4. 

Black Education in English Language Teaching

23/08/2018 15:15

Black Education in English Language Teaching

 

 

Many English language teachers in the foreigners` classrooms have experienced failure, for the simple reason that the students wanted to learn English, not English language, which is a means to understand the socio-economic `ins and outs` of a system loosely definable as `black English`. In Hungary, researcher Gabor Halász described how a system of primary and secondary education might consider aspects of the `black`, or `second economy`, if it wasn`t for the problem of elitism. A student's entrance into Eastern Europe`s secondary, or Gimnázium education, rather than vocational training, was 'high risk' because, although success might open the door to higher education, failure brought the gloomy prospect of struggling for survival in a labor-market without qualifications, that is, a loss of potential to satisfy the hunger of/for what has always been understood as `higher education`. In other words, although elitism encouraged upward ascent through education, the `black economy`, for which a knowledge of `black English` was indicated, both for native speakers and foreigners, wasn`t a `poverty trap`, whereas falling into the trap of seeking higher education, like the monied classes, but without the possibility of obtaining better prospects through nepotism, and `the old school tie` of private secondary education, etc., was.

 

 US` cognitive scientist, Noam Chomsky, `the father of modern linguistics`, observed that the question was always, `What can we understand?`1 Results of surveys on learning achievements called attention to the need for greater 'evaluation and monitoring', as Dr Halász`s research suggests, so the appropriateness of what was taught could be examined, that is, society`s requirements, which mightn`t be so orthodox as educationists`, or those of native English speakers in the foreign language laboratories abroad. For cognitive science, human activity was based on memory and recognition, rather than learning, that is, remembering things, places and people, were at least as important as education and/or the training needed to pursue a profession or trade. For foreign students, the objective was to know and remember the lingua franca of the `black economy` of English speaking nations, that is, a knowledge that the orthodox native English speaker mightn`t be qualified to impart, and so was deemed unsatisfactory or inadequate because of his/her seeming reluctance to `fess up in the course of the students` interrogations over the meanings associated with the various idiomatic traditional `sayings`, proverbs, nursery rhymes inculcated in primary school, and `old wives` tales`; for example, the traditional folk song, `Pop! Goes the weasel` (1853), was originally transmitted orally as what the people were able to communicate through succeeding generations on the theme of surviving dispossession:

 

`Up and down the city road,

In and out the Eagle;

That’s the way the money goes:

Pop! Goes the weasel.`2

 

 Drinking alcohol in the public houses in London; like `the Eagle`, costs money and, although it isn`t advisable, if the drinker wants to continue, they can take their coat, that is, `the weasel`,3 to the pawn shop, and that`s minimalized `black English` survival knowledge, which is that, if he/she wants to live in England, any student of the `black economy` might find it useful to learn what `popping a stoat` is, so as to avoid it. In Halász`s research, Hungary`s 'second economy'4 competed with education as a means of `social ascent`. In any system, where it`s attractive to avoid payment, people haven`t incentive to contribute. Because education and the economy is symbiotic, people support it and, in return, society benefits. As those in the `black economy` can`t contribute, so examining their role has become a societal taboo preventing the dissemination of `black English` so that a more realistic understanding of socio-economics was discernible for learners. Halász`s research in Hungary emphasized `training for work`, so `What can we understand?` For an orthodox English language teacher, it was evident that those who work in the 'black economy' correspond to necessity, or they wouldn`t have that role. The solution was for educators and economists to be incorporative with regard to training, and what works. Consequently, foreign English language teacher employers in Hungary and elsewhere wanted memoried `black English` trainers.

 

 Many native English speaking teachers don`t comprehend the dissatisfaction among students in the classroom when what they`re doing should be acceptable from the perspective of what they`ve been taught to teach, and their fulfilling of that requirement. It`s because they`re not supplying the students with enough `black English` to satisfy either their employers at home, or foreign employers, and/or their students. For the wealthy, education and economy is incidental, which means that those for whom it isn`t an ancillary activity are either `black workers`, or deluded into believing that official education affords a step beyond death, and taxis on the runway preparing for a takeoff that isn`t going to be. For most ELT professionals, that`s where they are, which makes it difficult to satisfy the thirst among foreigners for that `black English` which they anticipate will confer that less orthodox means of upward mobility in English speaking countries commonly envisioned by them.

 

 As Halász has written, `After WWII, secondary education was seen by the ruling political forces as an influential tool to transform the mind and composition of society`. Of course, those forces were Russian and communist, which meant that the `black` or `second economy` in Hungary, as in all of the other `satellite` Eastern European nations under the sway of the Russian `soviet` system, became a strong alternative rivalling the success and importance of the `first economy`. After the beginning of the ostensible withdrawal of communist Russia from Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, a different `class of 'go-ahead' people with driving ambition` were wanted from Eastern Europe`s education systems. For the West, Europe`s 'second economy' was represented by `that rugged entrepeneurial spirit of individualism familiar to us from US` television programs such as Dallas,`5 (Usher, R. p. 550) that is, `ruthlessness of character` displayed by Texan, J. R. Ewing, `I wouldn’t give you the dust off my car.`6

 

 Without `a Darwinesque ' survival of the fittest' environment, as English poet laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, observed, 'red in tooth and claw,' that is, one in which the many are preyed upon/exploited by the few` (p. 551), rather than have eternal youth conferred upon them by advanced medical science, there`d be no death and taxiing on the fashionable runways of the clothing industry, before the partially clad models took off again in quest of a permanent home to relinquish, when the estate agent, in his role as `grim reaper` after the murder, came to put the house on the market again; to ensure a fresh influx of new models looking for taxis: so they could `runway` and try to avoid being reaped.

 

 The realism of Eastern Europe`s `second` or `black economy` might have provided a less cutthroat and more tolerant atmosphere. Conducive to a more genuinely healthy and universal upward mobility, the incorporation of the `black` economies of formerly occupied Europe, independent of the soviet `satellite` system of client nations, was preferable to its being grimly reaped. Successfully incorporated within the `first economy`, that is, `nationalized`, the `second economies` of Eastern Europe could have resulted in a more generally successful life for the economy of Europe.

 

 What many English language learners in Eastern Europe and elsewhere wanted to know from their teacher was how to survive in England`s (America`s, Canada`s, etc.) `black economy` with their knowledge of English language, which required from the ELT professional some personal knowledge of `black English`. Otherwise, the teacher was inadequate from the perspective of the foreign learner, which placed the educator in a difficult position, `What can we understand?` Or even, what are we allowed to teach of what we know?

 

 Hungary has `a powerful sense of community, according to Halász`s researches, that is, a feeling of solidarity or togetherness`, and `which seemed to contain the memories of generations.` (p. 551) Those memories that existed, because of differences in education, wealth and status, contributed to the establishment of communism; after Hungary`s support for Germany in WWI and II resulted in successive defeats. To retain memoried `social co-operation`, `the work of the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research (HIER), in exploring the 'hidden curriculum' in the classroom`, was invaluable in perceiving `a humanitarian ethos behind what was taught`:

 

`Behind what is taught is the way that it is taught, which suggests that (overtly not covertly - once we're conscious of how the 'hidden curriculum' operates then there's no need to hide our use of that knowledge) we can inculcate a value system of a humanitarian type into our students, which will offset the problems associated with that 'too rugged' approach we often see in the less-than-caring face of Western Europe and elsewhere.` (p. 551)

 

 Part of the `hidden curricula` is that, as a German, Karl Marx, devised communism. As Hungary`s support for Germany in WWI and II effectively resulted in success for German communism, so the memoried `black educated` were better equipped to teach. As incorporators, the role of economists and educators was to combine humanism with dynamism. The role of the creative economist and educator was innovative which, as Halász argued, was a legislated possibility. Though public financing was an indirect means of steering, it included `black education` based on the requirements of private wealth, and directives associated with core curricula were the symptoms of that, which caused native English language teachers, who weren`t cognizant of `black`, difficulties.

 

 Monied people were `black` insofar as they were paying for a teacher to cater to their particular taste which, to a greater or lesser extent, meant interactions that were social, rather than language learning oriented. As native English speakers, particularly in England, were trained to abjure relationships with students, because of concerns about employing pedophiles, teachers of adults weren`t trained to `think black` overseas and provide extra-linguistic tuition to business people. Of course, if they attempted to, and failed, because they`d only been trained to teach English language, they ran the risk of being pulled up for extra-linguistic `black English` activities that weren`t on the curricula. In that `no win` situation genuine opportunities for intercultural discourse, and constructive exchanges conducive to progress, were dammed.

 

 Although there was a need for a spirit of 'creative individualism' among students to 'think for themselves', Universities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere had been used to producing memorizers that regurgitate, `later when required` (p. 550), or rote learn someone else`s analysis and regurgitate that, because the spirit of the memoried `black educated` was realistically pragmatic, rather than hidebound. Consequently, native English language speakers would be expected to have `savvy` to contribute from their own country`s linguistic development in order to be able to practice the `communicative method`; or indeed any other.

 

 Linguistic analysis requires imagination, so it`s the essence of creativity in the language laboratory; especially with advanced levels. Apart from the business expertise met with by the native English language speaker and teacher, and therefore the necessity for a knowledge of Business English, innovativeness is the sine qua non of teaching language as well as in economic success in capitalism, which was the socio-economic rival to the spread of German philosopher Karl Marx`s communism, originating with his Das Kapital (1868), and adopted by Russia after the October 1917 Revolution subsequent to defeat in war against Germany. With some knowledge of these historical determinants, the ELT professional could have learned `black abroad`, but the price was reciprocity, and so the native English speaker teaching `business` terms faced embarrassment at proving to be insufficient in terms of his/her capacity to satisfy or, as North Americans colloquially say, `put out`, because they`ve only been taught/trained to impart `first economy` vocabulary and orthodox terms to satisfy examiners at home, and that`s actually a disability in practical terms when teaching in foreign climes.

 

 Although the German Empire ultimately lost its First World War (1914-18), its Second World War (1939-45) resulted in the Russians implementing Soviet Communism, that is, the Marxist ideology of `workers controlling the means of production`, rather than capitalist entrepreneurs, after capturing the German capital, Berlin, and taking control of Eastern Europe. Just as that showed Marx to be a stronger German than either WWI`s Kaiser Wilhelm II, or WWII`s Chancellor Adolf Hitler, so it suggested that memoried `black` education was more realistic, because it accounted for actual historical circumstances, which were needful for an advanced exponent of English language teaching abroad to perceive; so as to be adequately meaningful. Money, as Halász`s research in Hungary shows, shifted the emphasis away from according importance to entrance exams, because the wealthy wanted to have better things to remember their time with. That accorded with the thinking of the new German capital in Bonn, which had seen the emergence of its communist economic philosopher, Karl Marx, as the world`s capital mesmerist; in contradistinction to the generally held belief that English language was the lingua franca of the Earth`s peoples: what the world hadn`t learnt was `black German`.

 

 In the major capitalist societies conditions were created for students to use their imaginations, rather than rely on memory, that is, the German, or `Prussian method`, of `rote learning`, which was the essence of communism; for example, `the state owned the means of production, because it was the workers`, is a logical sorite, but nonsensical. From a `black education` perspective, a more realistic statement is, `The state owns the workers.` As Karl Marx was a German economist, so Russian economics was conceivably `black German` and, trained in the orthodoxy of ELT communications, native English language speaking teachers in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world weren`t equipped to understand the exigencies.

 

 The sorite form was made famous by `symbolic logician`, Charles Dodgson, under his pseudonym, Lewis Carrol, in Alice`s Adventures In Wonderland (1865), for example, which was written for children, so those kids knew what he was writing about, whereas the modern world would need a literary analyst, if not a Freudian, to explain, 'I have tasted eggs, certainly,' said Alice, who was a very truthful child; 'but little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do, you know.'7 Serpents produce boy sons for which they need eggs, which Alice wasn`t required to respond knowledgeably to. In the same way, English usage of idiom afforded the speaker a tool, whereby others could be kept in ignorance, if they didn`t comprehend, even if they were English language experts. To be aware of that is a part of the English language teaching `hidden curricula` for the native speaker. In global terms, `black` isn`t disseminated in the classroom, because English language teaching is largely a `fictitious England concern`, which is deleterious to the intelligence, and socio-economic well-being of the teacher who, ignorant themselves, need to know `black English` better.

 

 Despite appeals for value for money (VFM) in education, the more prestigious Universities and Colleges at which students receive grants, that is, who`re paid, retained their entrance examinations as an enticement to the slavish, whereas a `choice system` affording self-satisfaction is more encouraging to financial success, which the wealthy elite perhaps mightn`t want for the merely educable. A typical instance of `black English` is `up the apples and pears,` (stairs) where the meaning of the idiom relates to socio-economic upward mobility by means of the meaning attributable to the `identifiers`, that is, the `apples` and `pears`. If those being educated weren`t taught the meaning of the idiom, they`d remain blindly ignorant of the means to upwardly ascend in `black` socio-economic terms, which was in the interests of those in the `first economy` who didn`t want the educable to see how, whereas `black English` for those in Europe`s `second economy` would doubtless be invaluable and so, for the euphemistically blind native English speaking teacher, education and training in the imparting of such vision, that is, the meaning of the idiomatic usage of `apples` and `pears` identifiers, for example, is what their equally metaphorically blind foreign students want.

 

 A sign and symptom of English language students` dissatisfaction with their native English speaking teacher was that they wanted to learn `idiom`, that is, the local `black English` colloquialisms and vernacular necessary for entry into basic European Union economics; for instance. Failure to know that English idiom was the essence of `black English` likely resulted in the teacher`s being disquieted at seeming unrest among students. Arriving wanting to know how to get ahead, which for many constituted a `black` system of flattery and evasion, foreign students of English language rather expected something akin to a description of the rules for Mokshapat,8 originally devised by the ancient Indians in the subcontinent for the education of their children, that is, `snakes and ladders`, or how to see to go up, and how to avoid being blinded, so as not to be led astray, and `downed` after takeoff on the runway; attempting to escape from death and taxis.

 

 

References

 

 

1 Chomsky, Noam, `What can we understand?`, Lecture 2, Columbia University, New York city, N.Y., Manhattan, 530 West 120th Street, Schapiro Center, Davis Auditorium, 4th Floor, 6.15 p.m. - 8.15 p.m., Thursday, December 5th, 2013.

 

2 `Pop! Goes the Weasel`, 1853, Roud Folk Song Index # 5249.

3 Weasel is derived from `weasel and stoat`, which is `Cockney rhyming slang`, that is, `black English`, for those born within the sound of the bells of St-Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside, London, https://www.rhymes.org.uk/a116a-pop-goes-the-weasel.htm .

4 Halász, Gabor, `Changes in the Management and Financing of Educational Systems`, European Journal of Education, Vol. 31, 1, 1996, pp. 57-71.

 

5 Usher, R. L., 'Learning to Study' in Educatio; Quarterly Review of Social Sciences Focused on Education, Hungarian Institute of Educational Research (HIER), Budapest, Autumn 1995, pp. 549-52.

 

6 Hagman, Larry, as J. R. in Dallas (1978-91), `The Sting`, Season 6, Episode 22, Lorimar, March 11, 1983, # 125.

 

7 Carroll, Lewis, `Advice From A Caterpillar`, Alice`s Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter 5, 1865.

 

8 Topsfield, Andrew, `The Indian Game of Snakes and Ladders` in Artibus Asiae, 46, 3, 1985, pp. 203-26.

If You Seek Gamey - A Receptive Skills Based Lesson Focusing on Listening

23/08/2018 11:43

If You Seek Gamey - A Receptive Skills Based Lesson Focusing on Listening

 

Introduction

 

Although reading is an integral part of the task, because it's a video, with a videoscript chosen for its authenticity, the text is motivational insofar as it pertains to real life`s `stimulating and challenging` (Gower, 1995, p. 88) activities. The rationale for the listening lesson to teach receptive skills is based on a September 23, 2016 internet video report from BBC Newsround, `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` The lesson includes some pre-tasks, and `while listening` tasks, and the video material used in the class appeared some time after a genuine article, `Nearly a quarter of kids see gaming as exercise`, was published on the BBC`s Newsround, on June 23, 2015, which the students were asked to read as a background task. Although `findings suggested that 75% of young people enjoy PE`, 23% thought `playing a computer game with a friend is exercise`, and a report by the UK`s Youth Sports Trust suggests children `risk becoming addicted to their handheld devices`.

 

 

As a reading text for the receptive skills` lesson, the teacher gave the students, `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` It was a piece-together handout to encourage use of top down processing, that is, reading for specific details (Aebersold and Field, 1997, p. 15), as well as bottom up processing reading for gist skills. The students were to practice these receptive skills along with listening for gist, that is, to ascertain general meaning (Harmer, J. 2007, p. 311), as well as for specific information (Harmer, J. 2007, p. 314), which required them to carefully attend to the video material, and use the receptive skills of listening and reading to comprehend video, audio, and text.

 

Lesson plan

 

Lead-in

 

 As a pre-listening activity to help the students demonstrate their use of the schemata they already possess from their background knowledge (Aebersold and Field, p. 8), they were asked to define `game` as a group and so, before discussion amongst them (Thornbury, 2005, p. 3), the teacher elicited opinion to arouse interest and set the scene. The aim wasn`t to focus on accuracy, during the lead in activity, so mistakes weren`t to be focused on, but the aim was instead to create interest motivating the students to listen. Afterwards, to raise and improve students` knowledge of schemata (Nunan, 1998, p. 69), the teacher explained that there are activities thought of as games by gamers, that aren`t, and these are often nevertheless placed within gaming contexts, which dilutes the seriousness of the mistake.

 

 In terms of the schemata deriving from the word `game`, an animal without chance of escaping a determined killer is a game animal, while computer gamers seeking to transfer the game concept to interactional simulations devaluing human life to that of game animals aren`t gaming. Consequently, reading for gist, allied to the application of the schemata associated with game vocabulary (Power, 2016), `cat and mouse` is identifiable as the gamer`s game with humans, whereas human participants voluntarily engage in activities to win competitions, which isn`t a game insofar as success means a better life for those taking part.

 

 The notion that gaming is physical exercise is a part of the game industry`s obfuscating marketing strategy to market the game to game players, where `game` can be interpreted as animal, rather than human, from the perspective of the market, which wants to sell product; not educate it. Although games aren`t ostensibly designed to be life-threatening, and there`s a distinction between game animal and gamer, game schemata associated with boxing, for example, admit debilitation as the aim of the `fight game`. The teacher therefore endeavors to correct students` understanding of the term `game`, that is, physical attacks causing brain impairment aren`t games.

 

Vocabulary pre-teaching

 

 Using simple and clear principles for the initial pre-listening task (Nation, 2005), the teacher explains the `game` vocabulary, but stresses the importance of the receptive skill based task of dictionary consultation for the student, who wants more information about words` meanings. The vocabulary chosen by the teacher for explication is; firming, taste, testing, headset, help out, franchise, check out. The language of the gamer is associative, for example, `firm` is applied to flesh, and `taste` also, although the meaning here is ostensibly related to the filling up of a venue, and the metaphorical fearsomeness of testing a new computer game, rather than tasting a game animal`s cooked meat. Amongst hunters, antlers are a `headset`, and `help out` is a term used in euthanasia, while someone who has `checked out` is dead in movie language. Consequently, the language of the gamer isn`t so playful as might be supposed.

 

Pre-listening

 

 The students are given a task in which they`re required to complete the text with the missing words from the rubric, that is, put the words and number into the spaces to complete the sentences. Although it`s a pre-listening task, the teacher collects and looks at the students papers, and perhaps makes notes, before returning them for the listening task, so that the students can correct their own answers as they listen. The audio introduction to `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` is repeated a few times, so the students can absorb the atmosphere and feel of the material before completing their final version of the receptive task.

 

Pre-listening and listening task: Reading and listening for gist and detail

 

busy, show, next, upcoming titles, out, deal, 80, 000

 

 `I'm here at EGX. The UK's biggest gaming is at the NEC and firming up and, as you can see, it's pretty , and expecting around people to come here over the few days. Now, this is a big , because it's the first time many people will get to play some of the big for the first time here in the UK, so I thought I'd help you out by telling you three things to look for.

 

 The teacher then gives the students a bottom up, and top down processing (Aebersold and Field, 1997, p. 18) comprehension task requiring them to apply the receptive skill of watching, and listening for gist, and/or specific detail, to get them to think about games, gamers, and gaming, and apply what they`ve gleaned, and what they already knew, to answering the questions.

 

Comprehension task: Reading for gist and specific detail

 

Where is the EGX?

How many people are expected?

Is there a card game metaphor used by the presenter, Steffan Powell?

What are the two words used by Steffan to describe new games to be sold soon in the shops?

What`s a `ukelele`?

What`s the name of the `famous franchise` game?

What company is promoting the new virtual reality machine?

What is it that can take you to all kinds of different worlds?

How many games can you play on that?

What`s the adjective Steffan uses to describe it?

 

While-listening

 

 The teacher gets the students to predict (Harmer, p. 337) the content from the video`s title , `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` , before playing the video, which is paused during the students` `while listening task` to give them time to write answers. They`re then given four stills taken from the video to put in order as a prediction based activity (Harmer, p. 346): `... and perhaps make some of the possible utterances themselves.` (Underwood, p. 34) Then, `working together` (Harmer, p. 338), they watch the video to see if they`re correct, and discuss. The teacher cuts up the paragraphs of the videoscript, and gets the students into groups to rearrange the paragraphs into the original sequence. There`s a 2 minute time limit attached to this `while listening activity` to facilitate the students` application of their `listening for gist` and `scanning for detail` audio-receptive and reading receptive skills.

 

 

While-listening task: Listening For gist and scanning for detail

 

Put the paragraphs numbered 1-3 in the correct order after listening

 

  And also there's a small independent game it's called Ukulele. Now you might not have heard much about it, but it's really colorful and really fun. It`s worth taking a look at that as well.

    Coming up. So, one of them is just behind me. See, there it is. You can see it's Skylanders Imaginators, which is a new taste on the famous Skylanders franchise. If you like that, then check out that game.

    Back here, just over there, they`re testing out the new Playstation virtual reality machine. It`s that headset you put on that can take you off to all sorts of different worlds, you can play loads of different games on that. That`s pretty cool too.

 

 

Post-listening tasks

 

 The teacher elicits the students` answers, and explanations for the comprehension given to them, as a way of checking their understanding. The video script is then given as a handout, so the students can examine it as a `problem solving and decision making` task, that is, they discuss errors made in piecing together the cut up text: `To maintain interest it is important not to have exceedingly long and complicated problems to solve, nor decisions where too many factors need to be taken into account.` (Underwood, p. 78) As Mary Underwood says, post-listening activities are often the main purpose of the lesson, so although the post-listening activities mightn`t seem very substantial, it isn`t advisable to overburden the students, so the lesson`s objectives can be smoothly achieved.

 

Appendices

 

Harmer, J. (2007) 19, Listening, 19.5 Listening [and film] sequences, p. 346.

 

 

Video transcript: `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?`

 

`I'm here at EGX. The UK's biggest gaming show is at the NEC and firming up and, as you can see, it's pretty busy, and expecting around 80,000 people to come here over the next few days.

 

Now, this is a big deal, because it's the first time many people will get to play some of the big upcoming titles for the first time here in the UK, so I thought I'd help you out by telling you three things to look out for.

 

Coming up. So, one of them is just behind me. See, there it is. You can see it's Skylanders Imaginators, which is a new taste on the famous Skylanders franchise. If you like that, then check out that game.

 

Back here, just over there, they`re testing out the new Playstation virtual reality machine. It`s that headset you put on that can take you off to all sorts of different worlds, you can play loads of different games on that. That`s pretty cool too.

 

And also there's a small independent game it's called Ukulele. Now you might not have heard much about it, but it's really colorful and really fun. It`s worth taking a look at that as well.`

 

Comprehension task: Reading for gist and specific detail

 

Answer key

 

The NEC

80, 000

deal

upcoming titles

a banjo

Skylanders Imaginator

Playstation

the headset

loads

cool

 

References

 

Aebersold, J. A., and Field, M. L. From Reader To Reading Teacher: Issues And Strategies For Second Language Classrooms, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Gower, Roger, Diane Phillips, and Steve Walters Teaching Practice Handbook, London, Heinemann, 1995.

Harmer, J. The Practice Of English Language Teaching, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited, 2007.

Nation, Paul, I. S. `Teaching Vocabulary` in EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 47-54, 2005.

`Nearly a quarter of kids see gaming as exercise`, BBC Newsround, June 23, 2015, https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/33240073 .

Nunan, David `Schema Theory And Reading, 4.3`, Language Teaching Methodology, pp. 67-9, 1998.

Powell, Steffan `EGX 2016: What's new at UK's biggest gaming event?` BBC Newsround, September 23, 2016, https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/37448787 .

Power, Ted, `B. Skimming`, https://www.tedpower.co.uk/esl1108.html , 2016.

Thornbury, S. How To Teach Speaking, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited, 2005.

Underwood, Mary Teaching Listening, London, Longman, 1989.

A Game Sport

11/12/2017 02:16

 

A Game Sport

 

Background

 

The 15 male adult class of intermediate level Asian students sent by a government college for people living and working in Saudi Arabia to a language school there to improve their English language usage, so that they have a common means of communication to use in their mutual dealings, are now to look at a video after completing a comprehension based on the video transcript, which appeared alongside an article, `The row over what counts as sport`, on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Newsround webpage,

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/34325289 , on September 22, 2015. They`ve said that they`d like to see the images that go with the text, and English sport is a favorite with them. To cater to the class interest in the subject, after watching the video together, `The row over what counts as sport`, there`s going to be a class discussion (Harmer, 2007, p. 358). Because it`s a Saudi group, there`s a co-teacher with this class because `collaborative teaching` (Abdallah, 2009) is felt to be useful in `second language acquisition`, where meaning is often a process of negotiation, rather than a given,  so the students have another video and audio with the collaborating teacher. `The row over what counts as sport` url is given to the students on a handout, so they can watch it again at home, `Or if you`ve brought your own smart `phones, and laptops, etc., it`s been sent by e-mail.` After this announcement, the video is watched with its imagery relating to the problems associated with defining card games like bridge, or games such as chess, as sports.

 

Introduction

 

 The students are advised that there`ll be a task on the material and they should prepare by carefully attending to the audio and video component of the news item with the object of discussing some aspect of what they`ve seen and heard. Afterwards, the discussion is initiated by posing to the students the question: `Is flying model aircraft a sport?` If so, `What other activities are there that you would consider to be a sport, while others mightn`t think so?`  Adhering to `simple and clear` principles (Nation, 2005, p. 47), it`s explained to the students that there`re important vocabulary words and especial phrases they`ll need to know for the task. The teacher reintroduces some lexis, which is revision, and so begins to employ the communicative language teaching (CLT) method, which is based on the teacher`s knowledge (Al-Issa, 2005, p. 104) and appreciation of the level of English arrived at by the class. The teacher deploys what the students need to learn in order to advance in `communicative competence` (Kasper, 1997, p. 345), which is what the Saudi employers want, `I think that ...`, `In my opinion ...`, `I disagree with ...`, `I agree with ...`, and the importance of the linking word, `but`, that is, `problem`, so that the students can make sentences like: `I think that .... so I disagree with .... but I agree with ... and so, in my opinion, flying model aircraft is a sport.` The teacher uses Smart Board technology, or whatever is available to write something on for the students, so that they can refer to the lexis introduced in their discussion, and elicits understanding from the students by means of Q and A (Usher, R. L. 2012), for example, `Is it your opinion that horse riding is a sport?` and `Would you agree that hunting is a sport?`

 

Presentation

 

 After checking the students` understanding of the lexis, the teacher affords the students the opportunity to engage in a structured discussion of what constitutes a sport. A student is chosen to explain why it is that they believe their activity is a sport. Guided by the teacher, the students are encouraged to agree or disagree, and say why they do. After all the students have submitted their activity as a sport and the reasons have been given, the criteria for what constitutes a sport are reexamined to assist the students with an upcoming `creative writing` task (Harmer, 2007, p. 325), that is, `sport` isn`t `game` in the sense of hunting, and activities that are only games aren`t sports, so what is the essence of sport? The teacher offers `skill` as the solution to how to distinguish between sports and games, while killing isn`t understood as `sport`, because for hunters the terminology `sport` and `game` are transposable, that is, `sport` means `game` (Usher, R. L. 2013), which is a way of saying that killing is a game, whereas it isn`t, and the skill employed in killing isn`t that of a sports` personality, although movies like The Deer Hunter (1978) starring actor, Robert De Niro, for example, about a hunter in the United States of America, who becomes a sniper in wartime, present killing as a skill, which tempts the audience to perceive it as a game and a sport.

 

 

Elaboration

 

 Using this definition, the students are asked to build a `word family table` (Nation, 2005, p. 51) with the following headings; Sports, Games, and Sport, Game, which affords them the opportunity of distinguishing between competitive activities that are physical and mental, that is, Sports and Games, and also distinguish between the activity of hunting and the hunted. What hunters label `Sport` and `Game` is the degree of difficulty posed by the `kill`, which receives the appellation `Sport` from the hunter, while the hunted is called `Game` by the hunter. Consequently, the students are asked to observe the difference between computer `Games`, and killing, which isn`t a game or a sport, and neither is PC gaming. The teacher writes some words under the headings on the board to help the students write their own words. Under `Sports` the teacher writes, `football`, and `hockey` with a brief explanation of the kicking a ball into a net activity engaged in by two teams of twenty two players, and the same idea using a `hockey stick`. Under Games the teacher writes `Snakes and Ladders` with the explanation that a player goes up ladders and down snakes in the board game requiring a positional marker to indicate the number of squares travelled based on the throwing of a dice and consulting the number on the uppermost square of the cube to guide each player`s steps. Under `Snakes and Ladders` the teacher writes `Super Mario` and explains that the once very popular `PC computer game` requires the player to use skill with the computer controls to help the character overcome obstacles to win the game. Those are the legitimate human activities.

 

Methodology

 

Under `Sport` the teacher writes, `Bear Baiting`, and explains it as an activity in which bears are tormented, and then killed for being vicious, and `Pit Bull`, which is an activity in which terrier dogs are bred to be baited like bears; until they fight each other and sometimes die from their injuries, while people bet on which pit bull terrier will win. Under `Game` the teacher writes `Deer` and `Rabbit` with the explanation that people eat them, that is, the distinction between a `game` animal, and an animal as `sport`, is torture. Although sometimes an individual who is repeatedly attacked, because they refuse to submit to the tormentative criminal is defined as `being game`, that is, unable to escape but unwilling to give up. Although hunters might argue that the term `game` means an animal that inspires the skill of the killer, animals that are a food resource for humans are most often bred by farmers, while `game` animals are the hunters` excuse for killing, while pretending it`s a `game of skill` equivalent to cards or chess in which they have an opponent. However, `Bear Baiting` and `Pit Bull` are more indicative of the truth, which is that killers like to torture their victims. Hunting humans is all the same to the killer, which is what the Robert De Niro movie, The Deer Hunter, is about, in which he has the role of Mike Vronsky, a soldier in Vietnam killing `gooks`, that is, Vietnamese, during the US` Vietnam war before the fall of Saigon in 1975. The teacher explains that `gooks` is a dehumanizing term, that is, a way of making the humans seem like animals to the killers, because that`s what killers do, so they should be careful of the usage of the terms `game` and `sport` when speaking with people, because not everyone is a good person.

 

Implementation

 

 Using the principles associated with `guided writing` (Scrivener, p. 236), the teacher asks the students to write a letter of protest as a `lobbyist` and explains;  approach `lobby` as a group of people that are against something, rather than supportive of it. They can work in groups or alone and write a short protest letter saying that they believe that `blood sports`, for example, `Bear Baiting`, `Deer Hunting`, and `Pit Bull` fighting are cruel. Either a single `blood sport`, or `blood sports` (pl.) should be the subject of their letter, which of course requires special lexis, that is, it begins with `Dear ..,` while the address of the sender is in the top right corner, above the introductory indented sentence, with the name and title of the person to whom its addressed following `Dear` .., and the letter ends with `Yours Faithfully`, rather than `Yours Sincerely`, which is for personal letters to people you known well. A single paragraph is sufficient, although students are encouraged to write two or three. The teacher writes the template for the letter on the board or gives it to them as a handout and a `gap fill exercise` in which some parts of the letter have to be completed by the students; for example, the name and address of the addressee, and the address of the sender.

 

 

The suggested vocabulary to be used is, think/don`t think, and like/don`t like; for example, `I don`t think that bear baiting is a sport, and it is cruel to make a game out of killing a bear, because so-called `game` animals are humanely killed by hungry people, so the idea of `sport` being killing as a `game` is a perversion based on other people`s hunger, who would see bear baiting as a mockery of their condition.` Having got the students thinking, the teacher leaves them alone to `brainstorm` ideas and write their letters. When they have a `plan`, the letters can be written from the `ideas generated`. The teacher encourages the students to demand answers to the questions they raise in their letters, as a part of the `process writing` (White R & V Arndt, 1991) task, and gives some personal help with the editing. The teacher collects the letters to read (Scrivener, 2007, p. 236, fig. 9) and correct, and then leads the class on a discussion of human and animal rights. Although `rights` can refer to ownership, that is, farmers` `rights`, rights can also be used to mean what people are allowed; for example, they don`t have the right to kill their neighbor. Although they do have the right to buy food, because it`s a basic `human right`, it`s a human right not to be associated with torture, because humans don`t like it. On that note, the teacher concludes the lesson.

 

References

 

Language Knowledge on ESL Policy Implementation with Special Reference to the Omani Context’, EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 98-112, p. 104.

Harmer, J. (2007) B1 `Process And Product` in B `Approaches to Student Writing`, The Practice of English Language Teaching, Harlow Pearson Education Limited, p. 325.

Kasper, G. (1997). `Beyond reference` in G. Kasper & E. Kellerman (eds.) Communication strategies, Harlow: Longman, pp. 345-360, p. 345.Nation, Paul, I. S. (2005) `Teaching Vocabulary`, EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 47-54, p. 47.

Nation, Paul, I. S. (2005) `Building Word Family Tables` in `Teaching Vocabulary`, EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 51.

Scrivener, Jim (2011) `Teaching The Skill Of Writing` in Chapter 9, `Productive Skills: Speaking and Writing`, Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide To English Language Teaching, Third Edition, p. 236.

Thornbury, S. (2005) How To Teach Speaking, Harlow, Pearson Education Limited.

Usher, R. L. (2012) `Accuracy and Fluency`, Humanizing Language Teaching, Vol. 14, 2, April, https://hltmag.co.uk/apr12/sart04.htm .

Usher, R. L. (2013) `Teaching English Vocabulary`, HLT, Vol. 15, 5, December, https://www.hltmag.co.uk/dec13/sart09.htm .

White R & V Arndt (1991) Process Writing, Longman, London.

Pottered

11/12/2017 01:52

 

Pottered

 

Background

 

The teenage class is a general International English Language Testing System group of upper intermediate level students who want to achieve 6.5 band IELTS to get into a European University, where they`ll study English literature, and so they need to be prepared for the IELTS examination. They`ve said that they`d like to study English literature, and the series of novels and movie franchise featuring the hero, a wizard at Hogwarts` school in the popular stories authored by the woman, J. K. Rowling, has been a favorite with them. To cater to the class interest in the subject, material has to be prepared in a special way to suit their purpose. Consequently, it`s an ESP (English for Special Purposes) lesson with a view to helping the six students` IELTS preparation course, and the news story of August 12, 2015, featuring the British Broadcasting Corporation`s (BBC`s) online video, `Harry Potter: The man who discovered a publishing phenomenon`, has been chosen subsequent to surfing the net.

 

Introduction

 

First the class is invited to assist the teacher to use the schoolroom`s computer, through the smart board screen, while the teacher applies the mouse and cursor to find an appropriate theme from the world wide web. Fortuitously, the subject matter appears in the menu, after the search engine has been programed to find subjects relating to the BBC and Potter amongst the plethora of url related hypertext. The subject material, a Witness broadcast by the BBC World Service primarily for radio listeners, is selected by the teacher as being the most appropriate. The teacher has an already prepared explanation supporting their choice, which they`ve prepared; quoting from the BBC news magazine website: `The Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies worldwide to date. But before the first book was published, numerous publishers had turned the first book down. Barry Cunningham was the man who decided to take a gamble on J.K. Rowling after he and his daughter became enchanted by the story. The quote is from the BBC news magazine website of August 12, 2015, and it`s interesting because it provides some explanation of the workings of the publishing industry and why one book is chosen over another for publication, so it`s going to be the subject of this day`s lesson.`

 

Presentation

 

`I`d like you to watch the video `Harry Potter: The man who discovered a publishing phenomenon` at this url; if you`ve brought your own smart `phones, and laptops, etc.` After this announcement, the teacher hands a sheet of paper with the url written on it for the students, so that they can continue their research at home, or in the school library, and through their smart `phones now, or on their laptops etc., that is, whatever they have to help them; such as the more affordable internet cafes, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33791582 . They`re then provided with the following basic information, which is that the first Potter novel, The Philosopher`s Stone, a movie they might enjoy, was written by Rowling and published in 1997. The actor in the bespectacled role of schoolboy wizard, Harry, was 11 years old Daniel Radcliffe, and his sometime would-be girlfriend, 11 years old enchantress, Hermione Granger, that is, actress Emma Watson, who was in the role over the eight fantasy genre productions of the British-American series of movies distributed by Warner Bros., which began with Harry Potter and The Philosopher`s Stone (2001), and ostensibly culminated with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), although revivals and remakes are always possible in Hollywood, Los Angeles, the capital city of the filmworld. Giving the students the task of watching the video attached to the BBC news magazine report on the novel`s publishing and the franchise`s progress, the teacher advises them that there`ll be a task on the material and they should prepare using the audio and video component of the news item.

 

 

Elaboration

 

Adhering to `simple and clear` principles (Nation, 2005, p. 47), it`s explained to the students that there`re important vocabulary words and especial phrases they`ll need to know for the task, which is about the publishing and movie industry following their review of the audio and video material. The words are: manuscript, gripped, haggled, significant, purchase, ringing, agent, editorial, sequel, feedback, critical, phenomenon, rights, and Beatlemania. The teacher explains that `manuscript` is a text that a writer has written, and in this context it`s the J. K. Rowling novel, Harry Potter and The Philosopher`s Stone, and that the movie script for the making of the film was also a manuscript. Although the word `gripped` relates to holding something firmly in the hand, here it derives from the horror genre in which audiences are described as gripped with fear, that is, too terrified to move from their seats, or held in their seats by interest in the action because it is suspenseful, that is, they don`t want to leave their seats because of how interesting things are on screen. The word `haggled` means to determine the value of goods, that is, the `purchase` price, by discussion, and a `significant purchase` means an important buy. The teacher uses the smart board, or whatever is available to describe the meaning of the new vocabulary words, and elicits understanding from the students by means of Q and A (Usher, R. L. 2012), for example, `Have you ever been gripped by a film, so you can`t leave your seat?`

 

The teacher goes on to explain that old `phones had bells inside them which rang, and so `ringing` is used sometimes to indicate a `phone call, although the name of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, is another reason. An `agent` is someone who represents someone else`s interests, and is used in the filmworld to indicate the person who represents the interests of the manuscript writer, or actor, for example, and `editorial` derives from `editor` and is used to describe the activities that are within the editor`s purview, although `editorial` is sometimes used to denote a text written by the editor to set the tone for a publication in which there are many contributors and contributions to the theme of the published work. Subsequent Potter novels and movies are `sequels`, and the popular Star Wars franchise, which began paradoxically with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), is an instance of `sequels`.

 

Methodology

 

Response to a work is `feedback` and `critical` is the word often used mistakenly for `crucial`, whereas it means interpretation of the content, usually by professionals, which is why critics and criticism are valued, because the aim is to assist the several producers of the product to improve. A `phenomenon` is anything that is apparent, that is, it`s phenomenologically present to the senses of the perceiver, although it`s often used erroneously with `phenomenal`, that is, an astonishing phenomenon, for example, the `Potter phenomenon` with its phenomenal success. Although `rights` refer to ownership, that is, of the Potter `brand` or product, `rights` can also be used to mean what people are allowed, for example, they don`t have the right to kill their neighbor, although they do have the right to buy food, because it`s a basic `human right`. `Beatlemania` was used to describe the phenomenon associated with the appearances of the 1960s pop group, The Beatles, when girls screamed and fainted at pop music concert venues as well as at airports and outside hotels, where the singing stars, who were guitarists John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the drummer, were reportedly staying.

 

 

‘The `special phrases`, which have particular meanings in English are explained to the students as follows; `the story started` means the events that are being related began, `turned down` means to reject or simply say `no`, and is often used to mean a girl or woman`s rejecting a boy or man`s appeal. If someone is `moved`, they`re emotional, so `moved me` means that Barry Cunningham, the publisher, was emotionally impressed by the friendship between the children at Hogwarts in the Rowling novel, Harry Potter and The Philosopher`s Stone. To `tear it off` means to take away from with rude force. If someone uses the phrase, `never would have guessed` it means that they wouldn`t have known if it hadn`t happened to them personally. When Barry `rang her up`, it`s a bell-ringing association, that is, old `phones had bells, but church bells were rung with ropes and called congregations to church on Sundays, so the people were `rung up`, and the phrase became idiomatic, that is, useful, but not understandable to children outside of the framework of common usage (Usher, R. L. 2012); unless they`re taught the original meaning.

 

Those who`re `lost for words` are astonished, so unable to speak, and `invited her down` relates to the fact that London is the capital city in England of which Soho is a part and, because it`s in the Southernmost part, London is `down` from everything above it, which is `up North`. The idea of the idiomatic term `gold mine` is anything that produces success, which is what J.K. Rowling was for Barry. `Don`t give up your day job,` is a common derision applied to budding writers, that is, if you don`t have a proper job, you`ll starve, because you`re a poor writer. Presentations are often met with the observation that it`s `going down very well`, which is English idiom associable with swallowing, that is, the people are believing the presenter, so the presentation is like food and drink to them. A `fairy tale` is a Western genre associated with mythical and fabulous creatures, and it`s distinguishable from Eastern traditions, for example, the 8th century collection of stories, 1001 Nights, in which there are genies, which don`t usually feature in Western tales.

 

 

Implementation

 

 The teacher asks the students to present a critique of something of their own choice, and they can discuss the topic of their criticism with the others as well as the teacher if required, who will elicit from them the subject of their critique. The teacher reads what the students have written at the end of the class and offers constructive criticism of their use of English vocabulary and idiom with the aim of improving their usage. Of course the terms `critique` and `constructive criticism` are pre-taught before the students write.

 

References

 

Nation, Paul, I. S. (2005) `Teaching Vocabulary`, EFL Asian Journal, September, Vol. 7, 3, pp. 47-54.

Usher, R. L. (2012) `Accuracy and Fluency`, Humanizing Language Teaching, Vol. 14, 2, April 2012, https://hltmag.co.uk/apr12/sart04.htm.

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