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Elluminate and L185

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A new L185 has recently started.  I did the first Elluminate session with one of the groups a couple of days ago.  It seemed to work reasonably well although there were some problems with loss of sound.

Would any of the participants care to comment on how they felt about it?

 

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Michael Rosen on grammar

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I have increasingly become aware of Michael Rosen's blog and it is a good read that is of relevance to the E303 and E852 courses.  The following posting should be of interest to students on both courses:

http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/grammar-rules-descriptions-and-systems.html

I would be interested in any comments.

 

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Elluminate one to one

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 30 Jan 2012, 10:10
I had an Elluminate session yesterday which only one student attended.  It seemed to be quite a fruitful session as there was not so much time spent on management issues like organising breakout rooms.
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sign language and communication

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An article from "The Guardian" about sign language and the importance of members of the family being able to communicate with each other:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/15/deaf-children-families-signing-access

This overlaps with some E852 themes such as multimodality and learning through language.

 

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first assignment for E852

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 6 Jan 2012, 10:57

I have just finished marking the first assignments for E852.  Most students did well, probably most did better than those writing the first assignments for E844 used to.  Perhaps the three part structure helped and it also seems that more people are coming on to this course having had experience of previous Masters modules.

The more I look at the E852, the better I think the course is.  There are some great readings coming up as well.

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Poetry as the "great unsettler"

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 13 Dec 2011, 10:34

I admire her principles in refusing the prize but I also like her points that "poetry is the great unsettler. It questions the established order of the mind. It is radical, by which I don't mean that it is either leftwing or rightwing, but that it works at the roots of thinking. It goes lower than rhetoric, lower than conversation, lower than logic, right down to the very faint honest voice at the bottom of the skull."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/12/ts-eliot-poetry-prize-pulled-out

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Another article critical of changes to university funding

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 12 Dec 2011, 17:34

Here is another article about changes to university funding.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n24/keith-thomas/universities-under-attack

It seems to me that the government have a flawed understanding of what universities are about and how collaboration rather than competition is the default and best mindset of academics.  There are occasions when competition is appropriate (as when applying for grants) but generosity has been the main attitude I have experienced when communicating with academics from other universities.

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The language of tutor group forums

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 24 Nov 2011, 12:16

There has been some discussion amongst the E852 tutors about the nature of the tutor group forums and, in particular, how formal and academic the language should be.  It is a complex question and it perhaps relates to the relative importance of different aims for the forums.

One of the aims is for the students to interact and this would seem to suggest that the language should be relatively informal.  Encouragement of interaction would perhaps tend to focus on frequent and relatively unreflective posting.

Another aim would be for students to explore ideas on the course.  This might suggest a more academic style as students refer to experience as well as what they have been reading.

Another important aim might be for the students to rehearse the kinds of ideas and the language needed for their later work.  This might tend to suggest that students should post in a relatively academic way.

I would think that it might be appropriate for the students to use a variety of different voices as they post but would be interested in what others think.

 

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Evaluating online sources

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011, 15:52

Some useful guidelines can be found here:

http://edsitement.neh.gov/reference-shelf/tips-for-better-browsing/evaluating-online-resources

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Elluminate again

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Did another Elluminate session yesterday.  I think that one of the grreatest benefits is that students can share skills.  For example, one of the students told the rest of the group how to do screenshots and this seemed to be reassuring and some of the rest of the group seemed to appreciate a spoken explanation in addition to the one on the course website.
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Numbers again

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 14:44

I suppose a theme is beginning to emerge about my scepticism about numbers and thinking about education and this was reinforced by visiting my son's school this morning to meet his teacher.

The teacher had given us a profile with various numbers on that are supposed to represent his current level in various subjects.  She did not really explain them but more importantly, the numbers and our discussion did not points to detailed strengths and weaknesses and strategies for development.

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"Averages will be of no help"

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 14:43

This seems like a balanced criticism of what appears to be a naive attempt to produce a league table of English skills.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/13/languages-tefl

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Elluminate session for E852

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It was good being able to talk to students on the course yesterday and I think Elluminate can play an important affective role in bringing students together and giving extra momentum to their studies.  Does anyone have thoughts on this?
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Useful site for developing academic English

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A useful site for helping learners with developing English for academic purposes.

http://www.open.ac.uk/tutors/dae/


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E852

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This new course is just about to start officially.  It is replacing the E844 course and although there are areas of overlap, it does have quite a lot of new content and makes much more use of the course website as opposed to printed materials.  It seems much more modern.
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Letters in The Gurdian on Language Learning

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Very important points are made in these letters, especially the first.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/03/languages-arabic-zapotec-michael-gove?INTCMP=SRCH

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Stephen Fry's Planet word

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 3 Oct 2011, 16:20

Of course the topic is fascinating but I am rather disappointed in the programme so far, partly because it seems to be more about Stephen Fry than language.  It seemed bizarre that the accents of the UK were imitated by Stephen Fry rather than authentic examples being given.

However, perhaps the programme will encourage more people to be interested in language and Fry does seem to have the right instincts in terms of preservation of languages.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b015qqkl/Frys_Planet_Word_Identity/

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David Crystal on language and the internet

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Quite an interesting and accessible talk on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2XVdDSJHqY

 

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article on language skills and job seekers

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This is a good article.  I think the point about making use of languages spoken by migrants is very important.  I think this happens to some extent but it would be useful for the government to acknowledge that migrants often bring linguistic skills as well as needs. 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2011/sep/16/language-skills-job-requirement?CMP=twt_gu

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Languages and international relations

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There was a brief item this morning on the Today programme about the importance of language learning.  It was discussing some of the problems of a lack of knowledge of key languages around the world (eg Arabic) amongst those involved in international relations.  Just occasionally, this issue is mentioned by the media but I do not see much evidence of the government giving this priority.
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More by Stefan Collini on university funding

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 12:10

Another article from the London Review of Books

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n16/stefan-collini/from-robbins-to-mckinsey

Two points that I think are important are:

1  that academics frequently collaborate and therefore the attempt to introduce competition is not very appropriate

2 learning is frequently hard and that student pleasure is not necessarily synonymous with learning. 

 

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A useful looking data base on accents

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I have only had time for a quick browse so far but this site looks very useful for finding out about the effect different languages are likely to have on accents.

http://accent.gmu.edu/howto.php 

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Michael Rosen and the phone hacking hearings

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 22 Jul 2011, 11:24

Michael Rosen makes some useful points about the use of language in the article below but there is much more analysis that can be done - I assume that in the fullness of time it will be.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/22/phone-hacking-scandal-language-evasion

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language and football

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 17 Jul 2011, 15:49
I heard on the radio that Chelsea players have all been told that they should speak English on club premises.  This strikes me as dubious in terms of rights if they are having private conversations with team mates who speak the same language.  I would be interested in what people like Phillipson, who write about linguistic human rights, think about this.
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language links

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 8 Jul 2011, 15:32

An intriguing site about how websites link to websites with different languages on the web.

http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/07/languages-of-world-wide-web.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FgJZg+%28Official+Google+Research+Blog%29&utm_content=Twitter

 

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