Sunday, September 16, 2007

common problems & participaton notes

Both polls are closed now. I moved them down the page and will be thinking about more poll topics. Please send suggestions. Your comments about "most common problems" have been excellent. I'll be posting study and practice materials on most if not all of them.
  • Articles
  • Commonly confused words (words that sound and look similar but have very different meanings) and wrong word forms or morphology errors (meaning OK- wrong form of root)
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Pronouns - agreement, case, gender
  • Verbs - tenses and auxiliary or helping verbs
  • Prepositions: in phrasal verbs, preposition use and prepositional phrases
  • Word order or syntax
  • Interference and language learning

You can and should participate in and share looking for handouts and practice exercises for most of the items on the list above. The last entry, described rather than named, will be more difficult to research. The last two entries are related as well as relating closely to an area of linguistics referred to as "contrastive rhetoric"

Second language learning is an exercise in contrastive linguistics because learners filter and assimilate the second language through the first language. Differences between two languages interfere when you try to learn them. Features any two languages are never a perfect match. The attempt to apply mis-matched features creates intererence.

Before I write more about our common ESL learning problems, it's time for a few words on the class and blog participation.

I wanted and expected MORE responses. Responding and contributing to the discussion was an assignment, which means that EVERYBODY in the class should have responded. I know you don't want to read complaints and nagging about posting everytime you come to Blogging English. I certainly don't want to spend my time complaining either, so I'll just send email reminders to classs members we haven't heard from. If they ignored the notices, then I'll just drop them from the class. Recently I dropped three students and sent several warnings this morning. That takes time too that could be better spent such as on finding interesting study, reading and practice materials for the class.

Blog participation requirements are much more flexible that lesson and assignment completion requirements. If, like Sadamu, Yupaphat, Mata and Kim, you've been in the class a long time and have done a lot of work, you're entitled to be less active from time to time. I do want to hear from you but won't be dropping you from the class unless you want to leave. Juan Manuel, Marina/ Mariko and Mustapha are next on the list of inactive blog members we need to hear more from - and SOON. Not only are they not participating here but they have not been in the class long enough or built up a body of contributions to the class.

By the way, we even have three blog members who are not in this class. Serge, Youngim and Miriam were in my first online ESL class (*E*S*L). I started it long before moving to New Mexico, when I was still at the University of California. Back then, the whole class was conducted by email and on our yahoo group - no blog, no class web page. You could probably say that I invited them for sentimental reasons.

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