Results tagged “efl”
Over at the TeflTrade blog, Sandy McManus has received another legal demand for material critical of a school to be taken down from his site. This time, his blog host received a letter alleging defamation from Mr Paul Lowe of Windsor TEFL, who appeared in this blog here and also replied to what I said here. In the first case, Abbey College, Malvern demanded that a post that contained a critical description of their summer schools was removed. The original text had appeared on Dave's ESL Cafe and Sandy had reposted it after it was pulled from Dave's.
A few years ago, many ESL bloggers were claiming that blogging was going to change the face of ESL on the web. I always thought that these claims were excessive; many bloggers were coming into IT without many technical skills and were evangelical about what they could do without understanding the ideas behind Web 2.0 or what was happening on the web already.
The TEFL Blacklist has had its version of the OSCARS for the worst in the ESL/EFL world. It's an interesting and idiosyncratic selection, with some obvious choices of old friends and some quirky and unexpected choices.
There is a lot of debate at the moment on whether the Trinity College London TEFL (TESOL) Certificate courses offered by Windsor TEFL are accredited.
We are adding a new section to the site that will be text-based, with texts and comprehension exercises. It is new, so it is still very small, but we will be adding to it on a regular basis. Please free to contact us to make suggestions or correct any mistakes.
The BBC has recently reported on the visa scams going on in some UK English Language schools, though this has been going on for years and has never been a secret within the ESL profession. The problem seems to have come to a head because the DfES (the Department for education and Skills) introduced a registration scheme, despite repeated warnings from professional bodies that their criteria for inclusion were not stringent enough.
In language discussions, results taken from search engines are often quoted as examples to show whether something is used as a form or to compare forms to see which is more common, etc. GoogleBlogoscoped has run 27,000 words from a dictionary through Google for popularity- the full results of the study can be downloaded here. The table below shows the top thirty words from the 2006 and 2003 surveys, together with the top thirty words from the British National Corpus (BNC).
The method used in the Google study does not count multiple occurrences in a single page, so the presence of a copyright message at the foot of a page will count for the same as all the times that the occurs, which accounts for the presence of copyright, contact, site, home, etc. However, the other entries suggest that the contents of the Google databases, and therefore any other reputable search engine, are likely to give a fairly accurate reflection for terms that are not related directly to the language of the layout of a webpage. As a rough and ready tool for checking, it seems that search engines can be used as basic concordancing tools.
I recently read an article in the Guardian that suggested that the digital divide, even terming it the 'so-called digital divide', was blurring and lessening. We installed Google Analytics a few weeks ago and it suggests that we have already had visitors from 184 countries or territories out of a total of about 192. There are some places whose status is not established or clear, but this does show that a single site can attract visitors from almost everywhere.
Tesol Law have published a draft discussion of a code of ethics, together with a discussion on the thinking behind it. It's not a new idea- the concept has been bandied around before. Most of the code seems pretty straightforward and sensible to me, but the enforceability of it is a different question. Robert J. Dickey, in his discussion, recognises that this could be 'a blessing or a curse' as it doesn't come from a recognised body.
I recently attended a talk on English grammar given by Michael Swan and he pointed out some changes in modal usage. Firstly there are changes in the way some modals are being used, like the use of you may have been klled instead of you might have been killed when we know that the person didn't die. He also said that we are using modals less nowadays, an observation that reflects on quite an important change in language, one I hadn't noticed at all.
English as an International Language (EIL) is being debated quite a lot at the moment. The idea sounds fine to me in many ways- most interactions in English nowadays are between non-native speakers, so we should focus on international communication rather than solely attempting to teach learners to strive towards native speaker competence. The idea of familiarising students with the Englishes used by people from other nations and cultures makes sense as that is what most will have to do when they use their English in their lives.
The British Potato Council has a campaign to remove the expression couch potato from the Oxford English dictionary on the grounds that does a healthy and nutritious vegetable a disservice. They are also ignoring the fact that the term 'vegetable' is used for a person in a coma. 'Banana' comes in for real disresepect as it means 'mad' and also is used in banana republic. If they want one vegetable to have a positive image, shouldn't they extend their 'campaign' to all fruit and vegetables in the name of consistency?
Unable to sleep, I spent some time reading through British teachers' blogs last night and was reminded of just what dire straits some areas of education in the UK are in. Two in particular stood out, for different reasons. One, a blog dedicated to exposing the worse side of the ESL profession in the UK, gave details of the worst job it had seen advertised this year, while the other documented the travails of a highly dedicated teacher who has finally resigned and decided to quit the profession.
I am taking lessons in Khmer. Twice a week I go for my classes in a classroom that is literally in the shadow of the Toul Sleng genocide museum, also known as S-21, the school turned into a notorious prison where thousands were tortured before being executed in Choeung Ek, the Killing Fields of the Democratic Kampuchea regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
In an excellent article about English teaching in Nepal, Yakity-Yak, Chris Sowton states that 'English is being turned into the weapon of the elite'. His picture of language learning in a resource scarce setting is bleak, but much of what he says matches what I see around me in Cambodia.
In the forum, there is a discussion about singular and plural, and asks whether 'two thirds of the cake' should be followed by a singular or a plural verb. The logic seems unarguable:
Part of the cake has been eaten.
Some of the cake has been eaten.
Most of the cake has been eaten.
Two thirds of the cake has been eaten.