Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1) I don't want you to stop reading.2) We may need to "go public" to use the feature.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Back in May, and back when I was teaching a TOEFL test instruction class, I would spend so much time preparing and teaching per week that my writing was suffering. Then I came up with an idea.
To cut it short: I have roughly 60 TOEFL (poetic) essays up at my blog, http://charitablegiving.blogspot.com. Check 'em out! And thanks for reading!
Sample essayQ. If you could change one aspect of the public school/schools you attended, what would you change, how would you change it, and why? Use reasons and examples to support your response.A. Education is a tricky subject. As with figuring out anything, many variables involved in the deep process. Students emerge from schools at the end of the day and it's easy to forget that they belong to a community housed within several fortifications, cafes and playgrounds. I would change a few things about my school's construction and the administrative hierarchy.Schools are built much like prisons. We are interested in keeping children and their noises, their dramas as well as their affinities, inside and locked away. A brighter school with less restraints would improve matters for children. They would not feel the cold gray sky behind the gratings on the windows, would not lunch in the same linoleum room like those dentists use to calmly wash out patients' mouths, would not sing on a stage so lofty that the smallest squeak cannot be heard. We silence the children, and we assume they behave better this way. However, when children are unleashed they destroy property. This is because they hold their emotions so pent up. Generous little beings are not captivated by the dull school surroundings. Gym balls will bounce with resounding joy if only we update the facilities which school our children.School administrations refuge in lonely temperance behind desks which expose children early to alienation of processes. How many times will they see desk housing a person? Fresh new faces entice all guests to share the most important information with the desk's occupant, and in the quickest manner. Imagine what fresh faces enliven the office environs, while increasing productivity. To this end, all school admins and educators who are entrenched should be alternated every 5 years. A bargaining period is born of this, during which time admins would prove their worth. However, teachers are accustomed to unstable living situations already. Administrators and office dregs should share in this renewal.
The Poetics List is moderated & does not accept all posts. Guidelines: http://epc.buffalo.edu/poetics/welcome.html
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
You don’t have a strong PLN (Personal Learning Network) the moment you show up at the right group, even if it is the perfect fit for your particular interest. Admittedly, finding a group of folks who share your passions can offer support, guidance and quick tips for simple challenges. For example, finding the right quilting group for a lone quilter can be a dream come true.But what if your passions are not so neatly contained? What if your interests are broad and interdisciplinary? Specifically, what if you just can’t find a group that shares your varied interests? You could join different groups for your different interests or even create a new one. That works fine for discrete fields, that is, until you start to ask cross-cultural questions no one else in that group is interested in.A strong PLN is not just a group of people, any more than a strong college education is the particular college you went to. A friend of mine had this to say of his Harvard degree: “The classes I took were not what made my education so valuable. It was more about the friendships I made and the radically different world view I acquired while there. Things I used to think impossible became matter-of-fact, almost mundane.”
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
You can find it here:
The extracts use special software that allows comfortable online reading. This should be a significant plus for some reluctant readers.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Top 4 Study Tips for Distance Learners and Students Taking Online Courses
by Carson Kelly, a freelance writer and advocate of online learning.
Online degree programs and distance learning offer a wealth of advantages – they provide a convenient way to obtain a quality education while maintaining a full-time job, they position you for job advancement and they enable you to complete your courses anytime and anywhere. However, since you won't be meeting for scheduled classes on campus each day or week, you need to have good study habits to stay on track and avoid falling behind. By following four simple study tips, you can be on your way to the successful completion of your online classes.
1. Create an Optimal Study Environment
Some students are easily distracted and need complete silence, while others find the stimulation of a lively environment conducive to creative thinking. Identify what setting works best for you when you're viewing lectures, working on assignments and taking tests for your online classes. Regardless of where you choose to study, it's important to have a comfortable workspace and proper lighting. Since you'll be spending a lot of time in front of a computer, you may find it helpful to get up from time to time to take a break and stretch your legs.
If you're working at home, be sure to let your roommates, friends or family know that you have a regularly scheduled study time. Ask them to avoid unnecessary interruptions, and tell them you won't be taking phone calls. It's important to set boundaries if you expect to succeed with distance learning and stay on top of your coursework. If there are too many disruptions at home, consider going to your local library or coffee shop. Make sure you find a quiet, out-of-the-way spot, and resist the temptation to chat with other patrons.
2. Plan Your Time Wisely
Time management can be one of the most difficult aspects of taking online courses. Some days, you may be too tired after work to focus on your studies; other days, you may be tempted to go out with friends or feel compelled to take care of housework. If you're not careful, you can quickly fall behind in your online classes.
At the beginning of the week, review the lectures, assignments and exams you'll need to complete, and set aside a specific block of time each day to accomplish the work. Just as you take a shower and brush your teeth each day, you need to make studying for your online courses a daily habit. You likely chose web-based classes because you have a busy schedule, and it's easy to get distracted with other obligations. Learning to effectively manage your time is a major factor in the successful completion of your online education.
3. Connect With Other Students in Your Online Courses
No one works well in a vacuum, and that's especially true for learning online. Just because you're not attending classes in a group setting doesn't mean you have to work alone. The best online degree programs will offer multiple ways to communicate with your classmates, such as message boards, online chat rooms and email. These online forums offer a great way to share ideas, get answers to your questions and make new friendships with students who share similar interests.
In addition to one-on-one conversations, take advantage of virtual study groups for each of your classes online. Participating in group discussions can enhance your team-building skills and provide new perspectives on the class subject matter.
4. Establish a Dialog With Your Distance Learning Instructor
Just as it's important to create connections with your fellow classmates, you should establish ongoing communication your online instructors. Your professors are more than just lecturers; they are an important resource in helping you to get the most out of your online education. You can start the dialog by asking questions. Whether you'd like clarification on a simple issue or help understanding a complex topic, your instructors want to know how they can help you and what you think of their online coursework. Your fellow classmates are likely to have the same questions as you, so you can also help others by taking the initiative to ask questions.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Language Difficulty for English Speakers
How long will it take to become proficient in a foreign language?
People often ask: "How long will it take me to become proficient in language X?" This question is impossible to answer because a lot depends on a person's language learning ability, motivation, learning environment, intensity of instruction, and prior experience in learning foreign languages. Last, but not least, it depends on the level of proficiency the person wishes to attain.
Different language skills
There is no such thing as across-the-board proficiency in a particular language. Proficiency is usually measured in terms of four skills:
Learners usually have different levels of proficiency in the four skills. Consequently, the four skills cannot be assessed by one test. Each one requires an independent evaluation.
Levels of proficiency
Two widely used guidelines identify stages of proficiency, as opposed to achievement. Both guidelines represent a hierarchy of global characterizations of integrated performance in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Each description is a representative sample of a particular range of ability, and each level subsumes all previous levels, moving from simple to complex.
It is important to understand that these guidelines are not intended to measure what an individual has achieved through specific classroom instruction but rather to allow assessment of what an individual can and cannot do, regardless of where, when, or how the language has been acquired.
ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages) has guidelines for speaking (1999) and preliminary guidelines for writing. The ILR (US Government Interagency Language Roundtable) has guidelines for speaking, reading, listening, writing and translation.
The two sets of guidelines for speaking only are given side-by-side below. Note that the ACTFL scale goes up only to the Superior level, while the ILR scale includes Advanced Professional Proficiency and Functionally Native Proficiency. ...more
World Languages is a commercial site but also a one-stop information website "dedicated to the world’s most important and populous languages... and language-related IT,"
OK so it's not about learning English, per se, but information about languages in general and learning languages does relate.
In particular, the chart for assessing different language skills and levels of proficiency seems adaptable to skills and levels in others languages.
Also a source about individual world languages, language families, fascinating language factoids (which always made language learning more interesting for me)
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
For more information on the wide range of vocabulary in English resources on the site, use this guide on how to improve vocabulary as your starting point."
Monday, November 01, 2010
The blog post excerpted below is about student blogging. It applies to advanced writers blogging as part of a college course that requires more writing and much longer posts. Still, the basic guidelines would apply reasonably well if you were being graded, which you are not. Still, evaluating your own work and progress is part of self-paced study. How would you rephrase or interpret these guidelines?
|4||Exceptional. The blog post is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. The post demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The entry reflects in-depth engagement with the topic.|
|3||Satisfactory. The blog post is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The post reflects moderate engagement with the topic.|
|2||Underdeveloped. The blog post is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The post reflects passing engagement with the topic.|
|1||Limited. The blog post is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the topic.|
|0||No Credit. The blog post is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences."|