September 2004 Archives
The UK government has been plugging its ESOL curriculum for some time and the materials designed to accompany it are coming through now, and are even worse than I had imagined. Unit 1 of the Level 1 course, which is not beginner level, but high intermediate, starts with a unit on 'Life in the UK'.
I was looking at the Edexcel website to see some information about their ESOL exams, as it seems that the UCLES exams have fallen out of favour with government, which will not be popular with students as UCLES are the gold standard for many. Edexcel have been in the news on many occasion for mistakes in exams and other administrative errors, so the title of this entry, which comes from the description of ESOL (Skills for Life) Entry level, doesn't inspire much confidence. The Writing Test for Level 2 is confusing- question 2c comes before 2b and doesn't have any handwritten text to correct, though it instructs studentsto find five mistakes in the missing text. There is something deliciously ironic in asking students to proof read the missing text in a question in the wrong order.
I clicked on a Google advert on our site that offered the chance to 'Learn German in 1 Day'. While the claim is ridiculous, I was curious about the method that lay behind it. It is 'a revolutionary memory technique developed by world-renowned learning expert, Dr. Michael Gruneberg', though Google could only find a few hundred mentions of him. Like all miracle learning methods, it gives us a scientific gloss, here claiming to be 88% more effective in one study.
The basic technique is to use 'mnemonic image' to remember vocabulary items. An example given on the website is the Russian word for a cow- karova - and the suggestion is to imagine a car running over a cow.