Musings

This category contains 43 posts

Glass Houses and Stones

I’m a total CBC fangirl, but nonetheless, on a regular basis you can find me raging out at my radio,  verbalizing my disagreement with some host or guest, much to the entertainment/chagrin of my partner. Saturday’s episode of Day Six was one such occasion. Host Brent Bambury interviewed Ross and Kathy Petras on their new book You’re … Continue reading

Does Morality Change in a Foreign Language?

I just came across this interesting article in Scientific American: How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language. I admit when I saw the title, I was expecting it to be another re-hash of linguistic relativity, aka. the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.  However, the focus of this article is not on comparisons of how speakers of different language … Continue reading

An Illustrated Style Guide?

I heard about The Elements of Style Illustrated on the radio this past weekend. Illustrator Maira Kalman  had worked her magic on the ol’ Strunk and White chestnut and I was intrigued. An illustrated style guide? I pictured jazzy artistic renderings of the syntactic sentence trees I had to do in my undergrad. However, a bit … Continue reading

Corpus-based Grammars and Style Guides

I gave the keynote address at the AWELL Conference a few months ago, and one of the practical suggestions I included in my talk for writing teachers working with English language learners was to try to draw on corpus-based grammars and style guides based on real language use vs. those that try to pass off personal … Continue reading

EAP Reading: Defining the Relationship

Here’s an interesting article that could make for a great reading for a class of EAP students about to enter their degree programs. As summarized by academica.ca: Students need to better understand the role of a professor, writes CHE contributor “I wonder if college students today truly understand the nature of their relationship to professors,” … Continue reading

Chatbots and Academic Writing?

Today I came across this article on a university teaching assistant who was actually a computer. “Ms. Watson” managed to fool students and fellow TAs alike, as “she” quickly and accurately answered the barrage of questions on the online forum for a computer science course in Georgia. Many of the questions this robot, and most of us teaching … Continue reading

AWELL 2016: Keynote Address

I’m giving the keynote address on the opening day of the Academic Writing and English Language Learners (AWELL) conference being held at Saint Mary’s University tomorrow. It’s a really neat conference which brings together a range of people who deal with writing in the university environment: ESL/EAP instructors, writing support centre tutors and administrators, and … Continue reading

Dialogue

Scene: Dinner party conversation with random friend of friend I’m meeting for the first time. Friend-of-friend: What do you do for a living? Me [aloud]: I work in ESL. [briefly describes context] Friend-of-friend: Oh, well, I used to work with new immigrants, teaching them pronunciation. I didn’t teach them grammar or anything, just pronunciation. Me … Continue reading

The Joy of Dad Jokes

Dad jokes–jokes so corny, so lame, so obvious, they make us roll our eyes, groan and exclaim “DAAAAAaaaad!!!” like an embarrassed 8-year old. (Here are some, and some more, and yet another list, and even a Dad Joke Quiz.) But could Dad Jokes be the gateway humour for language learners? Lots of people have written … Continue reading

The Rassias Method

I’d never heard of the Rassias language teaching methodology before an American-trained colleague brought it up recently. It’s like some in-your-face audiolingual/communicative language teaching hybrid. It seems like Rassias himself was quite the character: (from Stansfield, Charles, and Jeanne Hornor. “The Dartmouth-Rassias Model of Teaching Foreign Languages.” ADFL Bulletin 12.4 (1981): 23-27.) I’m not sure our … Continue reading

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