English Summer Town

Friday, February 24, 2006

How to Play Charades

Playing charades in English class is a fun way to get students to spontaneously practice English vocabulary and pronunciation as well as reinforcing non-verbal communication techniques.

P.S. : If anyone has a suggestion or can comment on how charades is played differently in Chile, or has any questions about how we do in the States, please post in the ¨Comments¨ section. -Edward

How to Play Charades

Charades, believed to have originated in 18th-century France, is a classic party game that's fun for all ages. You'll need at least six people to play.

The Game

Divide the group into two teams of at least three people each. Decide on a time limit - between 3 and 5 minutes - for each round.

Have each team write titles of books, TV shows or movies, or other phrases (see Tips), on individual scraps of paper, then fold them to hide the writing. Each team then places its scraps in a separate bowl.

When it's your turn, close your eyes and pick a piece of paper from the other team's bowl. Read its contents to yourself.

Without speaking, help your team try to guess the title by giving signals using appropriate gestures (see the following section).

Stop when your team guesses the title or time runs out.

Sit down and watch the other team draw a title and act it out.

When it's your team's turn again, watch as one of your teammates draws a new title out of the bowl; now it's your turn to try to guess what your teammate is acting out.

Record how many clues it takes each team to guess correct titles (or add up the number of correct guesses per team) to determine the winner.

The Clues

To indicate a book title, put your hands together as if you are praying, then unfold them flat.

To indicate a film title, form an O with one hand to pantomime a lens while cranking the other hand as if you are operating an old-fashioned movie camera.

Indicate a television show by making a box with your fingers.

Make quotation marks in the air with your fingers to indicate a quote.

Pose like Napoleon (with a hand on your chest and the tips of your fingers tucked partway into your shirt) to indicate a famous person.

Pull on your ear to indicate that the word being guessed sounds like another word.

Hold up fingers to indicate the number of words in the title, quotation or name; hold up a number of fingers again to indicate which word you want your teammates to guess.

Hold fingers against your arm to indicate the number of syllables in a particular word.

Pinch your thumb and forefinger or open them up to indicate a short or long word.

Confirm that your partners have guessed a word correctly by tapping your index finger on your nose and pointing to the person or persons who made the correct guess.

Wipe your hand across your forehead to let your teammates know that they are getting hot.

Cross your arms and shiver to let them know that they are getting cold.

Power Plays

This is from one of the presentations in English Summertown - defining your relationships with colleagues, students and yourself.

Power Plays

The following are power plays that appear in addictive relationships.
Write YES or NO based on whether you have experience the symptoms in your relationship.
Any YES indicates some kind of trouble in the relationship. (mientras mas SI se contestan más manipulativa es la relación).


Giving advice but not accepting it

Having difficulty in reaching out and asking for support and love

Giving orders, demanding and expecting too much from others

Being judgmental, put-downs that sabotage other’s success, fault-finding, persecuting, punishing

Holding out on others, not giving what the other want or need

Making, then breaking promises, causing others to trust us and then breaking the trust

Smothering or over nurturing the other

Patronizing, condescending treatment of the other that set one partner up as superior and the other as inferior, intimidation

Making decisions for the other, discounting the other’s ability to solve problems

Putting the other in no win situations

Attempting to change the other (and unwillingness to change the self)

Attacking the other when he or she is most vulnerable

Showing an antidepedent attitude (“I don’t need you)”)

Using bullying, bribing behavior, using threats

Showing bitterness, grudge holding, or self-righteous anger

Abusing others verbally or physically

Being aggressive and defining it as assertive

Needing to win or to be right

Resisting stubbornly or being set in one’s own way

Having difficulty admitting mistakes or saying I’m sorry

Giving indirect, evasive answers to questions

Defending any of the above behaviors

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Net Generation Goes to College

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Information Technology Section
From the issue dated October 7, 2005

The Net Generation Goes to College

Tech-savvy 'Millennials' have lots of gadgets, like to multitask, and expect to control what, when, and how they.


Change your teaching style. Make blogs, iPods, and video games part of your pedagogy. And learn to accept divided attention spans. A new generation of students has arrived -- and sorry, but they might not want to hear you lecture for an hour.

That is the message of Richard T. Sweeney, university librarian at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, who has been hitting the lecture circuit lately with his vision of how today's college students, sometimes called the "Net Generation" or "the Millennials," will soon alter the way professors teach, the way classrooms are constructed, and the way colleges deliver degrees.

Born between roughly 1980 and 1994, the Millennials have already been pegged and defined by academics, trend spotters, and futurists: They are smart but impatient. They expect results immediately. They carry an arsenal of electronic devices -- the more portable the better. Raised amid a barrage of information, they are able to juggle a conversation on Instant Messenger, a Web-surfing session, and an iTunes playlist while reading Twelfth Night for homework.

Whether or not they are absorbing the fine points of the play is a matter of debate.
Most important, Mr. Sweeney and other observers say, Millennials expect to be able to choose what kind of education they buy, and what, where, and how they learn. To meet the demands of these new students, they say, colleges must rethink how they operate. Imagine classrooms that incorporate more videos and video games, classes that meet electronically to fit students' schedules, students who choose to learn from each other rather than a professor, and courseware, search engines, and library databases that are animated, image-based, and interactive.

"Higher education was built for us" -- the baby boomers and previous generations -- "under an industrial-age model," Mr. Sweeney says. "That's not what they're about."

Not So Different?

Not everyone agrees that Millennials are so different from their predecessors, or that, even if they are different, educational techniques should change accordingly.
Michael Gorman, dean of library services at California State University at Fresno and president of the American Library Association, doesn't believe in generalizing about generations. Over and over, he says, educators have had notions about the need for colleges to change drastically to accommodate new crops of students. "This sort of end-of-history approach is dubious to me," he says, "this idea that we have reached a watershed and we have to throw everything aside and come in with new approaches."

He points to a recent article in Educause Review, about generational differences, in which a Millennial says, "If higher education listened to me, faculty and administrators would understand that students today cannot be dedicated just to learning." The comment sounds "self-absorbed" and "inane," Mr. Gorman says, and educators should not have to pander to such views.

Naomi S. Baron, a linguistics professor at American University, says she too feels pressure to meet the demands of Millennials: "It is very common to hear people say, Here's the Millennial or the digital generation, and we have to figure out how they learn. Poppycock. We get to mold how they learn."

Administrators push professors to use technology in the classroom because they believe that is what today's students want, says Ms. Baron. And faculty members feel pressured to shorten lectures, increase group-discussion time, and ignore the "multitasking" student who is e-mailing his friends in the back of the room -- all to attract and satisfy a generation that doesn't have the discipline of its predecessors.

"We think that the students will come if we teach in a way that meets the expectations we have of what the students want," she says. "At some point, what we are doing is killing higher education."

Control of Learning

To get to Mr. Sweeney's office in the library at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, one passes by tables of students huddled together working on homework assignments, with laptops and electronic gadgets spread out and plugged into walls and ears. Just outside his office sits a bank of public computers, where students check e-mail, chat on Instant Messenger, use a math program, write a paper, or play the online game World of Warcraft, often doing several at the same time.

Seeing such students in action was what made Mr. Sweeney decide several years ago that student life was changing.
He was walking through the library one afternoon when he noticed a student watching a video of a lecture given by a popular professor of mathematics. Mr. Sweeney assumed that the student was in the professor's course, but the student bashfully told Mr. Sweeney that he was in another professor's class. "He reluctantly went on to describe," the library director says, "that he could learn the material better from this professor on this video."

It was then, Mr. Sweeney says, that he had the first inkling that students these days are more apt to take control of their learning and choose unconventional, technological methods to learn better. He talked with the director of distance education and learned that the largest percentage of distance-education students at the institute were students already on the campus.
Soon he noticed more and more students gathered in groups at tables in the library, passing around information on their laptops, pulling information off the Internet, and learning together.
"In some cases, they weren't going to class," he says. "This was their class. They elected to work in a group and skip a particular class, which worried me."

But he was looking at it from his own perspective, he acknowledges. From their perspective, he says, the behavior was simply "practical": how to learn the material as fast as possible, with the least hassle. "The technology was a huge enabler for them to be able to do the things they do differently," he says.

Mr. Sweeney then embarked on research about the generation, reading what other scholars and commentators had to say about the newly dubbed Millennials.

The Millennial Man

Now he can often be seen at library conferences and other academic meetings talking about what he has learned. At some appearances, he performs what he calls a "without-a-net act," in which he specifies the various characteristics of Millennials, then brings in a group of students from a local college, whom he has never met, and asks them questions to see how closely they match the stereotypes.

Harold B. Shill III, a professor of public administration at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg, saw Mr. Sweeney's presentation at the annual American Library Association conference last year. The student focus group, Mr. Shill reports, "confirmed 100 percent" Mr. Sweeney's description of the generation.

"I had a feeling that the Millennials were different," the Penn State professor says. "This brought the differences into sharp focus for me."

Sitting in his office, its walls covered with pictures of his six children (two of whom are Millennials), Mr. Sweeney ticks off some of those differences:

"They have no brand loyalty," he says. They "accept as their right" the ability to make choices and customize the things they choose.

They are more educated than their parents and expect to make more money. "Many more have changed majors and expect to change jobs and careers," Mr. Sweeney says. But they often wait until they are already well into a major or a career track before they decide to make a change, he adds.

Playing with gizmos and digital technology is second nature to them. "They like portability, and they are frustrated by technology that tethers them to a specific location," he says. Studies show that Millennials don't read as much as previous generations did. They prefer video, audio, and interactive media.

They multitask. "They are much more likely to mix work and play than we are," he says, "playing a game or chatting while they are doing an assignment."

"In grade school, they were pushed to collaboration," which explains the popularity of group study in college today, Mr. Sweeney says. "The collaboration," he adds, "is both in-person and virtual."

Moreover, "they want to learn, but they want to learn only what they have to learn, and they want to learn it in a style that is best for them," he says. Often they prefer to learn by doing.
Marc Prensky, a video-game designer and futurist whom Mr. Sweeney cites in conversation and in articles, would take these notions further. The Millennials, or "digital natives," as he prefers to call them, feel hemmed in by an educational system that continually looks to history, that does not take young people seriously, and that squelches creativity, a key characteristic of Millennials.

"What we're really losing is the sense of why kids need an education," Mr. Prensky says. "The things that have traditionally been done -- you know, reflection and thinking and all that stuff -- are in some ways too slow for the future. ... Is there a way to do those things faster?"

A 'Cultural Shift'

Mr. Sweeney does not advocate throwing out books or getting rid of professors and leaving students to teach themselves in college. Not at all, he says.

But professors should try to understand that Millennials consume and learn from a wide variety of media, often simultaneously, he says. And, like the math student who he saw studying from a video in the library, they will take new avenues to get what they want out of education.
He says students would prefer to see online course-management systems, like WebCT and Blackboard, operate faster and be more interactive, presenting things in video or audio formats. Imagine systems that "learn" how you learn, he says, and adapt to your style.

Students want library databases to become more collaborative, he says. Two or more people might be able to search a database together, simultaneously, from different computers. Databases might be searchable by image rather than only by text.

He tells a story, relayed from a professor he knows but declines to name, to illustrate the gap between the old mind-set and the new: The professor was teaching in a computer lab and saw one of his students sending e-mail messages to someone during the lecture. The professor told him to pay attention.

"I'm listening," the student said.

"Well, I would like you to turn and look at me," the professor said.

"Why?" said the student. "I have an A in your course, and I can repeat back what you said."

That is a "cultural shift," Mr. Sweeney says. "To the professor it was rudeness. To the student, it was, Why shouldn't I do it in a way that works for me?"

Millennials and 'Me'

To Naomi Baron, the American University linguistics professor, that anecdote is a sign less of a cultural shift than of a growing problem. To her mind, among many students today, there is far too much focus on "me."

Everyone today, it seems, is some kind of information broadcaster, she says -- a blogger, or someone who maintains a Web site or puts out a podcast. Fewer and fewer people know how to sit and listen. She says she and other professors have found that they can lecture for only 10 or 15 minutes before they have to break for a group discussion or an opportunity for the students to talk.

Faculty members who used to be considered teachers par excellence for their engaging lectures are now described by students as "sooo boring," she says. In her own course evaluations, she hears one persistent complaint: She didn't give the students enough time to talk, despite the fact that she now schedules 50 percent of class time for group discussion. "That isn't enough? I guess not."

But professors themselves are partly to blame, she argues. "Education, for better or worse, used to be founded on the premise that the person at the front had something to share. Now we have all become group facilitators. We are these 'guides on the sides' who get the small-group discussions going."

"Students have a very short attention span, " she says, "in part because of the media that we as teachers and parents have encouraged them to spend their time with, and in part because we haven't taught them to have longer attention spans."

The Millennials, she says, are products not just of a constant information barrage, but also of an educational system that has lost its ability to impart skills. It is concerned more with buoying a student's feelings than teaching anything useful.

"We have told them, We want to hear what you have to say, your opinion matters, nothing you can say is wrong -- we can only just sort of add to it," Ms. Baron says. "There is a growing assumption that what matters is how you express yourself, not whether anyone can understand what you have expressed."

And so, she says, the Millennials might be whizzes on communication devices, but their communication skills -- both in writing and in person -- have a long way to go.
Colleges are dogged by the feeling that they have to "play catch-up with their students" when it comes to technology, she adds. "We have these new technologies coming down the pike, and we're told, Use them! Nobody has thought through which ones work and which ones don't."
For example, at American University, PowerPoint is popular among professors. Many post their PowerPoint slides and notes online after a class session. But for her part, Ms. Baron isn't sure that students like PowerPoint. More troubling, she says, is that students are downloading the slides and notes and skipping the classes.

"There is this larger sense of control that students have," she says, along with "a different sense of who is running the communications show as well as who is running the educational show."
Overwhelmingly, she worries that as colleges cater to a generation that wants to move faster, professors and administrators are giving up on a core lesson: teaching students how to think on their own, how to be contemplative.

"We are not teaching students, Sit by yourselves, take a walk by yourselves and think -- think
through a problem," Ms. Baron says. "I don't mind group work, and I assign some group problems. You can learn from each other. But some of this you have to learn to do on your own, and it takes quiet."

Finding a Balance

Stefannie A. Miller, a 21-year-old senior at Case Western Reserve University, fits squarely within the Millennial generation. Some of the assumptions about her generation ring true, she says. She has seen many of her classmates create their own majors and shift their career paths. As she considers a career in science journalism, she values her extracurricular experience -- as an editor for the college paper and other publications -- nearly as highly as her course work.
But she bristles at other assumptions -- both good and bad -- that people make about her and her peers.

"We're looked at as the attention-deficit-disorder generation," she says. "If you don't have some pretty pictures or some interesting digital format, we won't pay attention." But such technology is a "hook" for people who aren't going to study anyway, she says.

The 'Challenging' Job Market

From her point of view, the traits of Millennials have a source: the pressure to succeed that she and her peers have felt for years. From ninth grade on, "you're made aware of how challenging the job market there is going to be," she says.

So if Millennials are caught working on a paper during a lecture, it's because they have to maximize what they get done in a given time. If they are seen constantly chatting on phones and computers, it's because the importance of networking among friends and acquaintances has been ground into them. If they balk at learning subjects that seem "unnecessary," it's because there are so many other things to do.
"I don't think it's laziness, in that people aren't willing to put in the time," Ms. Miller says. "It's just that they don't have enough."

Mark Turner, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western, can see that students there are under pressure -- to ready themselves for a competitive environment in the work force, to prepare themselves for job descriptions that don't yet exist, and to adapt when a chosen career ceases to exist.

"The world is moving very quickly, and things change in professions now very quickly," he says.
Naturally, technology will play a role in the world, and Case Western students, like those anywhere, are adept with computers and gadgets, Mr. Turner says. "They don't find it at all surprising to put a Webcam on a coffeepot so they can see when the coffee should be refreshed," he says.

But the dean is skeptical about whether students prefer digital media over traditional media. "We find that they like multimedia -- they want text, video, and sound," he says.
In a way, he observes, that has always been the case: If you go to a lecture, you see the instructor, you hear voices in the classroom, you read what he or she writes on the board -- it's already a multisensory experience.

http://chronicle.comSection: Information TechnologyVolume 52, Issue 7, Page A34

Revolutions in Teaching and Thinking

The following article comes from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/). The webpage has several interesting articles and forums on the advancement of teaching, in particular in the ¨Perspectives¨ section. Take a look if you would like!

Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water
by Lloyd Bond

In his classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, physicist Thomas Kuhn argued that scientific revolutions are characterized by a completely new world view that is incompatible with what it replaced. In this sense, scientific revolutions are non-cumulative; rather than build on what has gone before, they jettison completely the assumptions and premises of the theories they replace. Darwin’s theory of evolution did not tweak the prevailing notion of a static, instantaneously created natural world not essentially different from what we see today. The Origin of Species threw out the notion entirely and replaced it with a living world evolving over eons of time through natural selection. The heliocentric structure of the solar system proposed by Copernicus (and refined by Kepler and Newton) did not build on Ptolemy’s elaborate geocentric model; it dismissed it out of hand, and in so doing changed forever the way we view our place in the universe.

On a less lofty scale, educational reforms often propose similarly radical new world views. In its original incarnation, the "whole language" movement in reading instruction dismissed "phonics" as a misguided way to introduce young learners to the written word. It was argued that children should be immersed in actual text with associated visuals and discussion. The ability to spell and read with understanding would come in due time. The "new math" reform of the 1960s rejected practice and drill on the "times tables" as a mindless activity that turned young learners off from mathematics. Tom Lehrer, the professional mathematician turned occasional cabaret performer, summed up the entire approach with his quip that the important idea underlying new math is "to understand what you are doing, rather than to get the right answer."

"Traditionalists" were deeply skeptical of these reforms, and with good reason; many of the innovations were based on faulty premises. There was precious little hard-nosed, empirical evidence to buttress the exalted claims on behalf of the new approaches to instruction. Moreover, the vast majority of elementary school teachers were ill-prepared, especially in mathematics, to handle the innovations. The net result, if one believes the traditionalists, was a generation of young people, the majority of whom could neither spell, read, nor perform simple mathematical operations. And the reaction by the public, the press, and elected officials was predictable: a call across the nation during the 1970s and 1980s for "back to basics" instruction and a proliferation of minimum competency standards for promotion and high school graduation.

Over the past quarter century, cognitive scientists, working closely with teachers in actual classrooms, have introduced a measure of sanity to the sometimes vitriolic debates. Studies of the development and nature of expertise in an ever-increasing variety of areas—from reading and writing to mathematics and electronics, from physics and piano playing to baseball knowledge and chess—indicate that with proper instruction and practice, proficiency develops from novice to expert in an orderly way and is characterized by a sequence of more or less distinct stages.

Briefly, these studies demonstrate that proficiency and expertise are predicated upon five fundamental principles: (1) newly learned information is processed through a series of "memory registers," each of which is subject to different limitations and each capable of different kinds of storage and processing; (2) proficiency depends critically upon the acquisition of "automaticity," the capacity to respond automatically to certain components of complex tasks, such as number facts and words in context, thus reducing the processing load of working memory; (3) problem-solving ability and the ability to read with understanding are not mysterious competencies that some persons possess and other do not, but rather depend upon a specific, prerequisite knowledge base that can be acquired by most people; (4) expertise in a given domain (mathematics or chess, for example) depends crucially upon how relevant knowledge is organized and stored in long-term memory; and (5) proficient performance is either retarded or facilitated by how problems and text are represented internally.

It turns out that traditionalists and reformers were both right in their own way, but both were overzealous in their devotion to a particular mode of instruction and in their blanket dismissal of the competing point of view. The drill and practice advocates of early mathematics instruction, and to a lesser extent the phonics advocates of reading instruction, appreciated the importance of the second principle above, that certain, "low level" skills must become second nature in order for higher-level performance to emerge. But they often failed to follow through with tasks that engage and challenge. For their part, the new math and whole language advocates failed to fully appreciate the critical enabling role of automaticity, sometimes with disastrous results. Nor did they fully accept what we now know to be true—that automaticity develops only through continued practice distributed over appropriate intervals.

Throwing out the baby with the bath water may well characterize scientific revolutions, but in the world of education and schooling, where new claims must be tempered with the wisdom of practice, progress is rarely made in such spectacular fashion.

Tongue Twisters for pronunciation:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as he could, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Tiny Tim the tailor took ten tiny stitches.

Sister Suzy sells seashells down by the seashore.

Choose churches as surely as you choose shoes.

Mary had a little lamb.
Its fleece was white as snow.
It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule.
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.

Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said "this butter's bitter! But a bitof better butter will but make my butter better" So she bought some betterbutter, better than the bitter butter, and it made her butter better so 'twasbetter Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter!

If you understand, say "understand".If you don't understand, say "don't understand".But if you understand and say "don't understand".How do I understand that you understand? Understand!
I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won't wish the wish you wish to wish.
Sounding by sound is a sound method of sounding sounds.
I thought a thought.But the thought I thought wasn't the thought I thought I thought.If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn't have thought so much.
A Tudor who tooted a flutetried to tutor two tooters to toot.Said the two to their tutor,"Is it harder to tootor to tutor two tooters to toot?"

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Pictures from English Summer Town '06

Kay Forsyth (Utah State University) leads in the afternoon activity ¨Folk Dance Workshop- An historical perspective.¨

Catherine Caldwell (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) gives a workshop on teaching listening through film clips.

Dr. Cheryl Ernst (Southern Illinois Univ, Carbondale) helps teachers develop learning guides to integrate skill building.

Diana Moss (Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program 2005-06) gives a workshop on food.

Edward Butterfield (Fulbright ETA 2005) and Heather Marrison (Coordinator, Fulbright Chile) give information and answer questions about the Fulbright program at the Cultural Fair.

Janet Kading (Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program 2005-06) gives a workshop on celebrations.

Meredith Lade (Australia TESOL Training Center) works with teachers in her workshop on ¨Communication in Action: Pronunciation, Music, and Speaking

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Learning from our Conversations in English

This is a great site to consider for teaching children English


The website was created by Sara Capitelli, who documents different techniques of teaching English, particularly the use of video.

It's an interesting look at interaction between English Language Learners


So why is phonetic spelled with PH?


We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Some other reasons to be grateful if you grew up
speaking English:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it
was time to present the present.
8) At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a
bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22) I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

Screwy pronunciations can mess up your mind! For
example...If you have a rough cough, climbing can be
tough when going through the bough on a tree!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There
is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but
not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid
of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a
humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking
English should be committed to an asylum for the
verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and
play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a
slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a
language in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

If Dad is Pop, how's come Mom isn't Mop?


Here's an interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education:


The Smell of Indoctrination in the Morning

At 8 a.m., the faces sitting before me are as blank as the dry-erase board in the classroom of my introductory course, "Belief and Unbelief." To the students' credit, all are present and accounted for, and not a one is wearing pajama bottoms or slippers.

Not a one is talking either, as I run slowly through the list of opening questions that I had hoped would spark discussion.

I ask how many saw the recent series in The New York Times on intelligent design, the very issue we're taking up by reading David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.


Ok, what about the movies? Has anyone seen Grizzly Man, a film by the German director Werner Herzog about the conflict between seeing nature as harmonious and seeing it as violent? If nature is inherently violent, I tell the class, then the intelligent-design argument buckles in the face of the facts.

Bored eyes blink back at me. Cue the tumbleweed.

I give up on discussion and decide just to lecture the rest of the time. Screw the "student-centered paradigm." If I keep talking, then I can pretend that the class is quiet because everyone understands my lesson.

After 20 minutes, I come to the point where I've scripted a carefully chosen example. In order to illustrate an argument offered in Hume's book, I tell the class that I had recently read Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections, famous for the author's 2001 disparagement of Oprah Winfrey's offer to select his work for her book club. I tell the class that when I closed the book, I was astounded by Franzen's accomplishment and genius, in much the same way as the speaker in Hume's dialogue is astounded by the book of nature, and the divine author he infers from it.

None of the students has heard of Franzen. When I say that it was the book that roiled Oprah's book club, no bells ring. I go back to lecturing, pretty sure that I am the person in class most eager for the clock to hit 8:50 a.m.

I have three hours before I have to teach a different section of the same course. That time in my office feels like solitary confinement, but with better coffee: I am alone to think about the morning's pedagogical sins. Why can't I get the class to participate in its own learning? Is it me? A rookie mistake in my first semester on the tenure track? Is it them? Is it the hour?

I take a break, treating myself to thinking more about The Corrections. The problem with that morning class begins to dawn on me.

One of Franzen's characters, Chip, is a hapless, theory-addled, ex-English professor, dismissed from his college because he had an affair with a student, Melissa. Months before Chip and Melissa shed their clothes, however, she dressed him down in the final class session, accusing him of trying to make his students into his clones by getting them to have the same opinions he has, to hate what he hates.

Chip is a walking "don't" list for college professors: In addition to giving in to his stupidest physical urgings by pursuing a sexual relationship with a student, he also stalks her; his turgid prose is immobilized by his arguments' theoretical underpinnings; he attempts to write a screenplay; and -- as Melissa claimed at the end of his class -- he indoctrinates his students.

I don't think I'm as heavy-handed as Chip is, but I wonder if I'm also subtly trying to get my students to like what I like, and hate what I hate, by drawing all of my cultural references from out-of-town newspapers, contemporary literary fiction, and art-house cinema. I know that I can become visibly exasperated when it becomes clear that my students don't read The New Yorker, listen to NPR, or head straight to the documentary section when they go to the video store.

In other words, I get exasperated when it becomes clear that they are not me.
To try to get students to think like we do is powerfully tempting. We realize that we have this power the first time a student parrots back our exact words on an exam. To a large extent, students will believe what we tell them is true. If I, in lecturing on the skeptical tradition of which Hume was a major figure, compare a radical skeptic to a child who continually asks her parents, "Because why then that child will make an appearance in someone's final exam essay.
Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with using our power to influence students' judgments -- after all, we need to get students to learn the truth. But we all know that this power gets abused. There is a continuum that runs from cultivating in students a healthy desire to know, through instilling certain cultural and intellectual tastes, to taking advantage of their openmindedness by feeding them the ideological catchphrases that rest like foam atop our considered opinions. It's easy to slide along that continuum, as the line separating education from indoctrination is poorly defined.

But we should learn to recognize indoctrination when we see it. In graduate school, I once overheard one teaching assistant tell another that she wanted to try to make her students into liberals before it was too late. Now, I think that having a few more liberals around, especially if they were strategically placed in swing states, would be a great thing for the republic. So in one sense, I sympathize with that TA. But I also know that to make students into liberals is an essentially illiberal act.

In his book Why Read?, the literary critic Mark Edmundson argues that humanities professors have a duty to our students -- and ultimately, to democracy -- to help them to expand the horizons of their thoughts. To do so is to help them live better lives, albeit lives of their, and not our, choosing.

Despite our temptation (it's our job, after all) to interpret texts, art objects, and past events for our students, to tell them how things stand in the world of ideas so that they can thereby adopt the right ideas and tastes, there is a point in every course where it has to be up to the students to interpret those things. In those moments, we teach best by letting go.

No student in an introductory class ever became a faithful news reader or a literary fiction hound because a professor browbeat him or her into it. My students might pick up a good book, though, if they have learned to be curious about the world and about themselves, and if they have seen that a reader's life can be a very good life.

Adhering to the aforementioned student-centered paradigm that is favored at my college should mean that I start off the class with some questions, but the kinds of questions I started that 8 a.m. class with were closed-ended. If any student had read the Times series, I would have been able to converse about it with that one student, while the others just sat there, not learning.

Such questions are only one step shy of "What am I thinking?" questions. Better questions would have given students the chance to make claims about the book and back up those claims with evidence. Better questions would have led the students to work through their understanding by talking to each other and to me about it.

By Jonathan Malecic

Thursday, February 09, 2006

U.S. Embassy Site

Hello all!
One of the aims of this blog is to share ideas and topics to share with your classes. Since I helped with the workshop on internet research and planning, I hope to throw out some ideas for your classes.
First off, I would encourage you to take a look at the U.S. Embassy's English Teaching in Chile site. It has a monthly newsletter, and some excellent links with resources for English language learning:


Of special note on the site this month is a link dedicated to U.S. holidays, this month featuring Martin Luther King Day. Their is an excerpt of his speech ¨I Have a Dream¨ complete with a glossary for vocabulary. I think your students will like its message.


Also, the Embassy invites everyone to contribute articles, suggestions, recommendations, advice, links, or even poetry (look on the site for a link to poetry for high school students! I quite like #145 ¨The Yawn¨)
Please direct all contributions or questions to ircchile@state.gov with ¨English Newsletter¨as the subject of your email.


Edward Butterfield

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

English Summer Town 2006 in pictures

Left: Jamie Pehl, Paul Lamontagne, Diana Moss
US Fulbright TEP 2005-2006
Right: Suzete Korchmaros, Janet Kading US TEP Fulbright TEP 2005-2006
and Edward Butterfield, US Fulbright ETA 2005
Anne Bliss (University of Colorado and Fulbrighter 2005) giving her presentation on ¨Wacky Theories, Weird Techniques, Peculiar Cultures and Fabulous English"
Carlos Vignolo (Universidad de Chile) discusses people's awareness of their emotions and being receptive to our world and surrounding environment.
Paul Lamontagne (Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program 2005-6) Gives a workshop on movies.

Jamie Phel (Fulbright Teaching Exchange Program 2005-6) gives a workshop on sports

Suzette Korchmaros (Fulbright Teaching Exchange Program 2005-6) leads a workshop on music