I’m doing a webinar on March 7 with English Online called “Why is English so weird?” Looking to History to Answer Tough Learner Questions.
Here’s the description:
The particularities of English orthography, vocabulary and pronunciation are stumbling blocks for many learners. However, what may appear to be random makes sense if one looks at the history of the English language, and knowledge of this history can therefore shed light on how we handle common student questions. This presentation is aimed at new teachers or experienced educators wanting to refresh their approach to questions perennially present in our day-to-day teaching. Classroom activities aimed at developing learners’ language awareness, with a focus on the influence of the history of English on its present-day form, will be discussed.
It’s only 30 minutes, so I don’t intend it to be a comprehensive survey of the history of English, but rather a look at some of the things that have influenced the English language over the years that have resulted in features present in modern day English that are perplexing to learners. I”m really into bringing linguistic awareness into the classroom, so I’ll share some activities to get learners thinking about language as a system, as opposed to a series of random, disconnected phenomena.
I’m really excited about this. We offer a free ESL/EAP workshop series here for students enrolled at the university, and I developed one looking at this very topic. I then went ahead and named it something super boring and dry sounding (The History of English!), so the turnout was small, but the attendees were very keen to finally have explanations for aspects of English that had always just been explained to them as random exceptions or inexplicable. I’m looking forward to sharing a lot of the material I developed for that workshop to teachers via this webinar. (We’re also planning to re-name the student workshop and offer it again in an upcoming semester!)
“See” you on March 7!