Monthly Archives: February 2008

Meme: Passion Quilt


I can fly
Cargado originalmente por Andrés Lázaro

“IMPOSSIBLE IS…

NOTHING

I have been tagged for this meme by Liz Davis. I have chosen this picture because one of the things I love about my job is encouraging students to try and do their best; to keep trying and practising, even if the task seems impossible to achieve. It is generally said that practice makes perfection, so we’d better not give up and we may end up flying .

Here are the rules:
1) Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
2) Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
3)Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
4)Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.
Really looking forward to see what: elemenous, susant, jenverschoor, englishstudio and gsellart are passionate about teaching their students.

Some Answers to World Englishes?

In my previous post, I have posed many questions without answers. In the last few days, I have been reading on the topic and concluded that it is important:

1) to expose students to world varieties of English (both native and non-native varieties)

2) to make them aware of the functional use of English as an international language.

3) expose them to cultural differences

4) to produce more empirical work on the use of English as a Lingua Franca because the lack of it, according to Barbara Seidlhofer, “precludes us from conceiving of speakers of Lingua Franca English as language users in their own right and thus makes it difficult to counteract the reproduction of English Native dominance”

Taking into consideration this new variety of English (ELF) would be a great advantage to us non-native ESL teachers: “instead of being “non-native” speakers and perennial learners of ENL, we can become competent and authoritative users of ELF” as Seidlhofer concludes.

References:

World Englishes: Variety or Deficiency?

As you all know, English is spoken by a great amount of people in today’s world. It is no longer restricted to a mother country and its colonies. We can even dare say it has become a kind of “lingua franca” in international communications.

Some scholars are already talking about ELF (English as a Lingua Franca). Jennifer Jenkins , explains the term, “…ELF refers to English used as a common language of communication, or lingua franca, primarily among non-mother-tongue English speakers with various first languages. Although speakers of ELF can also be native English speakers and speakers from former British colonies such as India, the majority come from what is known as the ‘expanding circle’; that is, countries such as Germany, Brazil or Japan, where English is learnt and used but serves few, if any, institutional functions.”

Nowadays, most users of English around the world and most English teachers are NOT native speakers. And this is the point where all the questions come to my mind. Do students of EFL really need to acquire the so-called native-like competence? Isn’t it enough to be intelligible among the people involved in the communication?

A Frenchman called Jean-Paul Narrière (here you’ll find more information about it. It’s in Spanish because I couldn’t find anything in English.) has realised that not being able to speak perfect English in an international business context was an advantage. He found it easier to communicate with Japanese and Korean people in HIS English than for the native speakers to communicate with them. He decided to develop a theory that he called “Globish”. According to him, “Globish isn’t incorrect English, it’s “English light” based on a list of 1,500 core words.” People who support his theory believe that if they need English only for travelling and doing business, why torture themselves in the attempt to speak like a native speaker? And by the way, what does being a native speaker imply?

Brian Brennan points out that” I know many native speakers of English whose level of writing is below CEF B2 level. The CEF C2 band represents a level of linguistic sophistication that few native speakers have. Native speakers, too, are on a cline of competence. But all this begs two questions: What do learners mean when they say they want to learn English? And what models should they be provided with?”

Food for thought. What do you make of all this? Are these new “World Englishes” that are emerging a new form of what we usually call variety or just a deficiency? Looking forward to your comments.

Images in Twitter?

I have already told you that I have become a twitter-addict in a certain way. In this short week I have spent there…Is it a week already? It must be less than a week, but taking into account the amount of information I have received, it seems as if I have been in Twitter for a whole year.

I have just received a message in Twitter from a person I’m following (Courosa) sharing a great link: http://www.twitxr.com/ . This application allows you to share pictures in Twitter. You just have to sign in, enter your Twitter account name and your password. Then, you write a short message and upload a picture. The message with a link to the picture will be sent to all your Twitter followers.

I have just tried it out (I’m also sabridv in twitxr. I’m not that original) and it worked well. The only thing you have to take into account is that when you write the message, make sure you write less than 100 characters. If not, in the Twitter message the link to the picture would be broken, because there is not enough space (remember that Twitter allows you to write only 140 characters). Have I been clear enough?

I don’t know what we can use this tool for, but I like it. If you have any ideas, why not sharing it with us in the comment section? Looking forward to your answers.

To Twit or not to Twit?

After a long time I have come back to real life. I have been away on holidays during January and it has taken me a great time to realise that my vacation time is over. Now, that I’m fully back I can start posting in my blog more often.

Today, I will talk about a very interesting and useful tool: Twitter. I have been told about Twitter long ago, but when I entered the page and saw that you have just got to answer the question “What are you doing?”; I thought “How useless”, closed the window and forgot about it.

However, the word Twitter started to appear quite often in my delicious network. Twitter, Twitter and Twitter everywhere. Everyone in the field of education and technology seemed to be giving it a try, and I could be no exception.

I have just been using Twitter for two days and I have to confess that I have become a Twitter-addict (does this word exist already?) Twitter is a great way of getting the latest news in the field that you are interested in. Apart from that, you can receive instant help from people around the world by just typing a questions.

I have tried it and it worked for me. I wanted to know how I can read and post to Twitter through Skype. I posted the question. One of my followers repeated the question and one of her followers provided me the answer after just a few minutes. Would you like to know the answer? Here it is. Very simple:

1) Add the contact twitter4skype to your skype

2) Send this message to the contact via chat:

account/ (shift+enter)

the name of your twitter account (shift+enter)

the password of your twitter account (shift+enter)

NOTE: Make sure that you send everything in the same message.

You should receive a message that reads twitter4skype registration complete. Now you can start receiving and posting Twitter messages.

I have realised that the key to Twitter is networking so if you are interested you can start following me. I’m sabridv in Twitter. See you there.