Year 6 Number 142 March 5th 2005
6700 SHARERS are reading this issue of SHARE this week
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being SHARED
After all I did not get up so early this morning. 7:30? Almost 8:00? I forget now. But it was not that early or else good old Ernie would not have got up with me. Ernie, in his old age now (he´ll be fourteen next August), has taken to sleeping long hours,especially during the morning (as a good friend of mine would say that´s a half-truth as Ernie actually sleeps most of the day). For not so old dear SHARERS, let me clarify that old Ernie is our Doberman! Martin had breakfast with me this morning (unusually early for him!) because he´s studying for a final exam at College next Monday and, as it usually happens to all of us, we only discover we would have needed a little bit longer two days before the test. Sebas slept until Marina called everyone for lunch. He insists that, this being his last year at secondary school, he has all the right to rest since University is bound to be pretty hard next year (he´s not quite decided what he will take up, yet).
I spent all morning finishing SHARE with both windows of the study wide open and Marina getting everything ready for an afternoon with friends by the poolside . I have almost finished this issue of SHARE and soon it will be in your mailboxes. La vita è bella, isn´t it? Well, it´s Saturday and it´s summer. What else could you expect? Why can´t we have a year which is all bright Saturdays? It´s only a question of trying, I suppose.
Omar and Marina
In SHARE 142
1.- Applying Corpus Linguistics to Classroom Teaching.
2.- How to deal with fallacies in Education.
3.- Adapting Tasks to Learning Styles.
4.- First Virtual ELT Conference.
5.- III Encuentro de Gramática Generativa.
6.- New Tools for Teachers Easter Course.
7.- Resourceful Teaching and NLP.
8.- El Placer de Traducir.
9.- Positions Vacant.
10.- Support Learning at ZEAL.
11.- B.A. in English (Literature).
Course for Teachers of English in
13.- Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis.
1.- APPLYING CORPUS LINGUISTICS TO CLASSROOM TEACHING
Our dear SHARER Daniel Krieger wants to generously SHARE this article with all of us.
Corpus Linguistics: What It Is and How It Can Be Applied to Teaching
Siebold University of Nagasaki (Nagasaki, Japan)
In recent years a lot of investigation has been devoted to how computers can facilitate language learning. One specific area on the computer frontier which still remains quite open to exploration is corpus linguistics. Having heard a declaration that corpora will revolutionize language teaching, I became very curious to find out for myself what corpus studies have to offer the English language teacher and how feasible such an implementation would be. This article will address those questions by examining what corpus linguistics is, how it can be applied to teaching English, and some of the issues involved. Resources are also included which will assist anyone who is interested in pursuing this line of study further.
What is Corpus Linguistics?
Corpora, Concordancing, and Usage
In order to conduct a study of language which is corpus-based, it is necessary to gain access to a corpus and a concordancing program. A corpus consists of a databank of natural texts, compiled from writing and/or a transcription of recorded speech. A concordancer is a software program which analyzes corpora and lists the results. The main focus of corpus linguistics is to discover patterns of authentic language use through analysis of actual usage. The aim of a corpus based analysis is not to generate theories of what is possible in the language, such as Chomsky's phrase structure grammar which can generate an infinite number of sentences but which does not account for the probable choices that speakers actually make. Corpus linguistics only concern is the usage patterns of the empirical data and what that reveals to us about language behavior.
One frequently overlooked aspect of language use which is difficult to keep track of without corpus analysis is register. Register consists of varieties of language which are used for different situations. Language can be divided into many registers, which range from the general to the highly specific, depending upon the degree of specificity that is sought. A general register could include fiction, academic prose, newspapers, or casual conversation, whereas a specific register would be sub-registers within academic prose, such as scientific texts, literary criticism, and linguistics studies, each with their own field specific characteristics. Corpus analysis reveals that language often behaves differently according to the register, each with some unique patterns and rules.
The Advantages of Doing Corpus-Based Analyses
Corpus linguistics provides a more objective view of language than that of introspection, intuition and anecdotes. John Sinclair (1998) pointed out that this is because speakers do not have access to the subliminal patterns which run through a language. A corpus-based analysis can investigate almost any language patterns--lexical, structural, lexico-grammatical, discourse, phonological, morphological--often with very specific agendas such as discovering male versus female usage of tag questions, children's acquisition of irregular past participles, or counterfactual statement error patterns of Japanese students. With the proper analytical tools, an investigator can discover not only the patterns of language use, but the extent to which they are used, and the contextual factors that influence variability. For example, one could examine the past perfect to see how often it is used in speaking versus writing or newspapers versus fiction. Or one might want to investigate the use of synonyms like begin and start or big/large/great to determine their contextual preferences and frequency distribution.
Applying Corpus Linguistics to Teaching
According to Barlow (2002), three realms in which corpus linguistics can be applied to teaching are syllabus design, materials development, and classroom activities.
The syllabus organizes the teacher's decisions regarding the focus of a class with respect to the students needs. Frequency and register information could be quite helpful in course planning choices. By conducting an analysis of a corpus which is relevant to the purpose a particular class, the teacher can determine what language items are linked to the target register.
The development of materials often relies on a developer's intuitive sense of what students need to learn. With the help of a corpus, a materials developer could create exercises based on real examples which provide students with an opportunity to discover features of language use. In this scenario, the materials developer could conduct the analysis or simply use a published corpus study as a reference guide.
These can consist of hands on student-conducted language analyses in which the students use a concordancing program and a deliberately chosen corpus to make their own discoveries about language use. The teacher can guide a predetermined investigation which will lead to predictable results or can have the students do it on their own, leading to less predictable findings. This exemplifies data driven learning, which encourages learner autonomy by training students to draw their own conclusions about language use.
Teacher/Student Roles and Benefits
The teacher would act as a research facilitator rather than the more traditional imparter of knowledge. The benefit of such student-centered discovery learning is that the students are given access to the facts of authentic language use, which comes from real contexts rather than being constructed for pedagogical purposes, and are challenged to construct generalizations and note patterns of language behavior. Even if this kind of study does not have immediately quantifiable results, studying concordances can make students more aware of language use. Richard Schmidt (1990), a proponent of consciousness-raising, argues that what language learners become conscious of -- what they pay attention to, what they notice...influences and in some ways determines the outcome of learning." According to Willis (1998), students may be able to determine:
Barlow (1992) suggests that a corpus and concordancer can be used to:
Problematic Issues Involved
Several challenges are involved in implementing the use of a corpus for the purpose of teaching. The first is that of corpus selection. For some teaching purposes, any large corpus will serve. Some corpora are available on-line for free (see appendix 2) or on disk. But the teacher needs to make sure that the corpus is useful for the particular teaching context and is representative of the target register. Another option is to construct a corpus, especially when the target register is highly specific. This can be done by using a textbook, course reader, or a bunch of articles which the students have to read or are representative of what they have to read. A corpus does not need to be large in order to be effective. The primary consideration is that of relevance to the students--it ought to be selected with the learning objectives of the class in mind, matching the purpose for learning with the corpus.
Related to the
issue of corpus selection is that of corpus bias, which can cause frustration
for the teacher and student. This is because the data can be misleading;
if one uses a very large general corpus, it may obscure the register variation
which reveals important contextual information about language use. The
pitfall is that a corpus may tell us more about itself than about language
use. Another obstacle to confront is the comprehensibility issue: if you
use concordancing in a class, it can be quite difficult for the students (or
even the teacher) to understand the data that it provides. Lastly, the
issue of learning style differences--for some students, discovery learning is
simply not the optimal approach. All of these points reinforce the caveat that
careful consideration is required before a new technology is introduced in the
classroom, especially one which has not been thoroughly explored and
Exploiting a Corpus for a Classroom Activity
Although corpora may sound reasonable in theory, applying it to the classroom is challenging because the information it provides appears to be so chaotic. For this reason, it is the teacher's responsibility to harness a corpus by filtering the data for the students. Although I support having students conduct their own analyses, at present I see corporas greatest potential as a source for materials development. Susan Conrad (2000) suggests that materials writers take register specific corpus studies into account. Biber, Conrad and Reppen (1998) emphasize the need for materials writers to acknowledge the frequency which corpus studies reveal of words and structures in their materials design. (See Appendix 1 for an example).
Taking a Closer Look at "Any"
As an English teacher, I have always taught "any" in the following way:
A corpus study by Mindt (1998) concluded that 50% of any usage takes place in affirmative statements, 40% in negative statements, and only 10% in interrogatives. My own concordance analysis bore his claim out, so I constructed the following exercise to represent the percentage distribution of the three structural uses of any, using ten representative examples. The purpose of this exercise is to get the students to discover three usage patterns and their relative frequency. These concordance lines can also be exploited for other purposes such as defining functions and common language chunks of any. It is assumed that an exercise like this would be part of a lesson context in which the students were studying quantifiers or something related.
A Closer Look at "Any"
Read through the following lines taken from a concordance of the word any.
Source: Corpus of Spoken Professional American English
What conclusions can you draw about the use of any?
What are the three main uses of any in order of frequency?
Links to Help You Get Started
© Daniel Krieger, 2003.
2.- HOW TO DEAL WITH FALLACIES IN EDUCATION
Our dear SHARER Juan Carlos Demarchi has sent us this article:
In a previous (and
of well-argued hooey, Professor Plum
raised the intriguing question of how looney and harmful "movements" catch on in
education. Why aren't they hooted off the stage with signficiant vigor as
soon as their proponents show up with red nose, fright wig, clown shoes, and
fake flower squirt?
One answer is that the essential goofiness is hidden within cleverly disguised logical fallacies of which teachers, administrators, ed students, and families are unaware. They are therefore easily gulled.
Now these same fallacies would never work in other situations. For example, you are visiting Uncle Ned (perhaps YOUR Uncle Ned) in London, England, and you order a large shipment of fish and chips (or perhaps jellied eels). And you are instead served a bowl of foul gruel. You say to the gruel purveyor, "Hey, what's this mess? This isn't what I ordered." And they say, "All the BEST people are now eating gruel. In fact, Her Majesty, The Queen, tucks into her luncheon rations with great delight." And you say, "The Queen. The Queeeen! I don't care WHAT 'The Queen' tucks into. Since when is she an authority on lunch?"
In other words, you're not taken in for one second by this OBVIOUS fallacy called appeal to authority.
Why, then, are we
such idiots when it comes to eduillogic? An ed perfesser or conference
speaker spouts, "Piaget says...." and everyone nods like an amiable cow chewing
its noonday portion of cud.
I think it's because the world of daily life (outside schools and ed schools) has pretty clear consequences, and these keep us alert to nonsense and other forms of oompus-boompus. I mean, if you don't find SOMEthing wrong with the Her-Majesty-The-Queen scam, you're going to end up with a bowl of gruel. But teachers and ed students don't KNOW what's going to happen if they fail to challenge the drivel they get in conferences, workshops, and courses. And so, they willfully suspend disbelief.
Professor Plum has written this post in the Yuletide Spirit, in hopes it will make his Dear Readers hypercynical to what they read and hear in edland. "Oh, yeah, sez you!" In other words, Readers will see everything presented by the ed establishment as an opportunity to test the null hypothesis--which in this case is, "What bunk. Pure nonsense. Odious piffle."
Second, this post provides tools for identifying hidden hooey. A later post will provide opportunities to apply the logical tools to statements made by educationists.
So, here we go...
Common Fallacies of Relevance and Ambiguity
Fallacies of relevance and ambiguity have to do with logical errors in everyday (and research) arguments. The errors may the result of sloppy thinking; they may be unintentional slips; or they may be rhetorical tricks to sway gullible audiences. By studying these fallacies, you will become fluent at spotting errors in your own and in other persons' arguments. Definitions of the fallacies are from the work of Copi (1986) and Downes (1996). Useful exercises involve spotting fallacies in articles and books, TV commercials, political speeches, and everyday conversation. For example:
"My husband was having, you know, personal
difficulties," says Mrs. Reginald Waddington Bassett-Bassett of Upper
Bingley. "But now he takes Niagara!! And what a difference!
He's up all night!!"
[So, based on ONE case--an anecdote--we should all run out and get a bottle of Niagara?]
1. Arguing Against the Person (argumentum ad hominem)
The fallacy of ad hominem is committed when an argument attacks an opponent (e.g., a person or group with a different view) rather than the opponent's evidence and logic. Sometimes, the person or group is said to have negative qualities; and therefore, the opponent's argument should not be accepted. This is the abusive version of the ad hominem argument. For example:
"You cant accept the implications of B.F.
Skinner's research. After all, he was a behaviorist."
Sometimes the ad hominem argument is that a person's or group's position should not be accepted because of their special circumstances. This is the circumstantial version of the ad hominem argument. For example:
"Oglethorpe is an engineer. Of course she
advocates focused and systematic math instruction based on solid research. She
must be biased."
In other words, it's implied that the opponent's argument is invalid because the opponent benefits from the argument or because the opponent has to believe what he or she says, and therefore the argument cannot be trusted. However, these considerations are irrelevant to the validity of the opponent's argument.
Ad hominem arguments can be handled by: (1) determining whether the arguer presents credible evidence in support of his own position and/or against the opponent's position; (2) identifying the negative characterization of the opponent and revealing how this characterization is used to invalidate the opponent's argument or position; and (3) showing what sort of solid evidence is needed to invalidate the opponent's position and/or support the arguer's position.
2. Prejudicial Language
This invalid argument uses emotionally loaded words to persuade an audience that the arguer's position, conclusion, or suggestion is reasonable and acceptable because it seems morally good, or that an opponent's position, conclusion, or suggestion is unacceptable because it seems morally bad. The emotive words "pump up" the audience, and give the audience the sense that it is on the side of right. For example,
"In contrast to the rigid, piece-meal and
conformity-fostering curricula forced on children by advocates of explicit
instruction, our child-centered curriculum provides children with a seamless
series of authentic and meaningful experiences that foster self-esteem and
enable children to develop their inner potentials."
Appealing as it sounds--assuming that pure twaddle has an appeal--this argument gives no data on what "explicit" vs. "child-centered" curricula actually do and what the curricula actually yield--so that a reasoned comparison and choice can be made. Instead, the arguer uses words (not precisely defined) appealing to the audience's negative sentiments about conformity and piece-meal instruction, and positive sentiments for children, authenticity, and development. The implication is that anyone who disagrees with the arguer is against children, individual development, and authenticity.
This argument can be handled by: (1)
identifying prejudicial words and showing how they are used to sway the
audience; and (2) showing that the arguer has no credible evidence for his or
her position or against his or her opponent's position.
3. False Dilemma
In this fallacy, an arguer makes it seem as if there are two or three (and only two or three) opposing options; e.g., two possible ways to understand things, two ways to interpret data, two conclusions that can be drawn, or two responses to a problem. Then the arguer tries to discredit or invalidate the position(s) he or she opposes. This appears to leave only the arguer's position--which, by elimination, the audience is logically bound to accept--if the audience falls for the false dilemma. For example:
"There are only two kinds of
data--quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (meanings, interpretations,
narrations). Quantitative data say nothing about how children make sense
of their school achievements. But this is just the sort of information we need.
Therefore, we must choose qualitative over quantitative data."
The false dilemma, here, is that research cannot be divided neatly: (1) into qualitative vs. quantitative data, and (2) into data that tell about persons' experiences vs. data that do not tell about persons' experiences. In fact, quantitative data can speak to how persons see things (e.g., teachers can count the number of times per day that they blame students for not getting the material); and some qualitative data say nothing about how persons see things. So, the argument gives a false choice. The way out of this argument is to show that the forced, limited choice is false and to suggest additional options.
4. Appeal to Popularity (argumentum ad populum)
This invalid argument involves persuading an audience to accept a speaker's or writer's conclusions because other persons and groups already do so. For example,
"Hundreds of schools and businesses in the United States have school-to-work programs. So do some foreign countries. There is substantial government funding for these programs. Obviously, Smith's opposition goes against the trend."
The implication is, "How can Smith argue
against these programs? How can Smith be right and so many other persons and
groups be wrong?"
Unfortunately, this argument is often effective. For instance, a study by Solomon Asch showed that at least one-third of the participants in his experiments agreed with the majority's judgment about which line was longer even when the group's judgment was obviously wrong. Subjects went along to avoid being the lone nonconformist. Similarly, jurors in trials of teachers and day care workers accused of child abuse said they went along with the majority even though they believed the defendants were innocent; they just could not see how they alone could be right when so many other persons had the opposite opinion.
This fallacy can be handled by: (1) showing how the arguer appeals to popularity to support his or her conclusions; and (2) showing that the popularity of a position is not evidence for the validity of the position. For example, jurors have convicted innocent persons; our species long thought the sun revolved around the earth; and education in the United States and other countries has been dominated by faddish ideas and methods that later proved worthless.
5. Appeal to Pity (argumentum ad
This fallacy is similar to the appeal to the
population; it, too, relies on emotion. An arguer implies that his or her
explanations, conclusions, positions, or suggestions should be accepted, and/or
that alternative explanations, conclusions, positions, or suggestions should be
rejected, because failure to agree would injure the arguer or some other
For example, before there was much research on whether full inclusion of students with special needs did any good, many groups advocated full inclusion of children with severe mental retardation in classes for typically developing children by appealing to readers' sympathies.
"Will we continue to keep these children in a
shadowland--outside the circle of warmth and protection with their fellow human
beings? Will we add even more misery to their lives? Or will we at last provide
them with their rightful place?"
The appeal to pity can be handled by: (1) showing how the argument appeals to the audience's sensibilities (e.g., about the difficult lives of many persons with disabilities); (2) showing that the argument does not give direct evidence that supports the position (e.g., that inclusion leads persons with disabilities out of a "shadowland," decreases "misery," or helps them achieve a "rightful place") or that refutes opposing positions; and (3) that the argument (e.g., advocating full inclusion) may be against the interests of persons whom the argument claims to support.
6. Fallacy of Division
This fallacy is the argument that the
characteristics of a whole (e.g., an automobile engine is heavy) apply to all of
the elements (therefore all of its parts are heavy). An example of the
fallacy of division in education would be an argument that the average
test scores in a school are high; therefore, all children in the school (or all
classes in the school) got high scores (or were proficient). In fact, some
classes may have gotten very high scores, which pulled up the average (school)
7. Fallacy of Composition
This fallacy is the flip side of the fallacy of division. It's the fallacy of arguing that the characteristics of elements (e.g., an engine's parts are light) apply to the whole (therefore the engine is light). An example of the fallacy of composition is arguing that: (1) since all of the children and teachers in a school improved their skills a great deal, therefore, (2) the school as a whole improved a great deal.
The problem is that the school is a social
organization; it has features (organizational features) that its elements
(individual human beings) do not have. Teachers and students (elements) may have
learned new skills, but: (1) the school division of labor (a feature of the
whole) may still involve a high degree of specialization and little
collaboration among teachers; (2) there may have been no change in patterns of
power; and (3) there may have been no change in relationships with
8. Argument From Ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam)
There are two forms of this fallacious argument:
1. There is no solid evidence that supports a position, conclusion, or suggestion. Therefore, the position, conclusion or suggestion must be false, invalid, or generally unacceptable. Or,
2. There is no solid evidence that a position, conclusion, or suggestion is false, invalid, or unacceptable. Therefore, the position, conclusion or suggestion must be true, valid or acceptable.
Ms. White: "You say new teachers should be assessed for licensure by portfolios. But you don't have evidence that portfolio assessment leads to the selection of better teachers?"
Ms. Wong: "Maybe not. But you don't have evidence that portfolio assessment doesnt lead to selection of better teachers."
Ms. White is right; Ms. Wong is wrong.
Advocates for a conclusion, technique, treatment, curriculum, or social policy
are obliged to provide positive evidence (supporting data) for what they
advocate. In other words, lack of evidence is not evidence. That's why
prosecuting attorneys must prove that defendants committed a crime; defendants
don't have to prove that they didn't.
9. Slippery Slope
In this argument, a person claims that failure to accept his or her conclusions or suggestions, and/or acceptance of an opponent's conclusions or suggestions, will have increasingly bad effects. For example:
"If state boards of education require
publishers to have empirical evidence that their textbooks or curricula are
effective, that will be the thin end of the wedge by which school boards take
away more teacher autonomy. Soon they will require that we submit lesson plans
to school boards for approval. Moreover, this policy will inhibit publishers
from developing new materials, and so we will have to use increasingly obsolete
This is an appeal to fear. No evidence is presented that adverse effects will occur or cannot be stopped.
10. False Cause (post hoc ergo propter hoc)
"Post hoc ergo propter hoc" is Latin for "After this, therefore because of this." An argument commits this fallacy when a person claims that because one event follows another event, it was caused by the prior event. However, the fact that one event follows another event may be coincidence. There may be no causal connection at all. Each event may be caused by a separate chain of causation. Or two events may be caused by a third, unknown event. Here is an example of post hoc ergo propter hoc.
"We pre-tested students' math skills. Then we
implemented the new 'Creative Calculus' math curriculum. And then we gave
students a post-test. Post-test scores were much higher than the pre-test
scores. Therefore, Creative Calculus is effective."
After Creative Calculus, therefore because of Creative Calculus. Math scores may have changed, but not because of the new curriculum. Perhaps teachers communicated to students that they had high expectations that students would succeed (which they did not communicate with the old curriculum); or perhaps the post-test was easier than the pre-test; or perhaps some students with the lowest math aptitude dropped out after the pre-test (and so their likely low post-test scores could not drag the average down). Many other extraneous factors could account for the findings.
We could more clearly show whether the
curriculum does or does not work by conducting an experiment with equivalent
groups. One group gets the new math and the other gets the old math. If the
group that receives the new math has higher pre-test to post-test differences,
and if all other extraneous variables are pretty much equal across the two
groups, then we can begin to suspect that the curriculum makes a
11. Wrong Direction
In this fallacy, the direction of cause and
effect is reversed. For example,
"The rates of mental illness increase as we examine data from suburban to inner city areas. Therefore, inner city areas cause mental illness more than suburban areas."
It is more likely that as some persons who live in suburban areas become mentally ill, and cannot hold their jobs, they lose income, abuse drugs and alcohol, lose their families, and end up homeless in the inner city. In other words, moving into the inner city does not cause mental illness. Its the other way around; some people move into the inner city because of impairments resulting from mental illness.
Here is another example of the fallacy of wrong direction.
"When you observe cooperative learning
groups, you find that the high status students end up running discussions and
learning the most. Therefore, cooperative learning groups produce social
It's just as likely that causation runs in the opposite direction; students who enter cooperative learning groups with high social status and skills control discussions from the start. The cooperative learning format may sustain inequality, but inequality was already there.
12. Begging the Question (petitio principii)
In this fallacy, no empirical evidence is given to support a conclusion. Instead, the conclusion merely restates the premise. For example,
1. "God exists." (premise)
2. "I know God exits because if something exists I will know it." (evidence)
3. "Since I know God exists, God must exit." (conclusion)
Well, that clears things up nicely! Here's another example:
1. "Children who are most disruptive in class have ADD (conclusion) because
2. Children with ADD usually engage in a lot of disruptive behavior (premise)."
It may be true that ADD is associated with (indeed is partly defined by) disruptive behavior. However, this does not imply that most disruptive behavior in classes can be traced to children with ADD. Children without ADD also engage in disruptive behavior.
Read the two statements again. Note that the conclusion and the premise say virtually the same thing. If you aren't careful, the premise seems to provide good reason for the conclusion.
Here's still another example of petitio principii (begging the question).
1. "Whole language is an effective way to teach children to read (conclusion) because
2. "Whole language uses literature rich environments and authentic materials which are conditions that foster reading skill (premise: evidence)."
Again, the premise that is supposed to
provide good reason (evidence) for the conclusion merely restates the
conclusion. However, no empirical evidence is given on, for example, how many
children in a group could read before and after whole language, in contrast to a
comparison group that received an explicit phonics curriculum.
13. Converse Accident (Hasty Generalization)
The fallacy of hasty generalization is
committed when a generalization is made from an exceptional case (or what
later turns out to be an exceptional case) to a larger population of events.
For example, I helped develop a curriculum for autistic children. This
curriculum was quite successful. However, it would have been a hasty
generalization to imply that the curriculum would be as effective with
other autistic children in the larger population. Why? Because our sample
of 35 children may have been exceptional in some way--i.e., not representative
of the larger population of autistic children. The children we worked with may
have been younger; less impaired; living with parents who were more skilled at
teaching their children. What worked with our sample of children may not have
worked with other children. Therefore, before generalizations were made about
how the curriculum might be used with other children, it was replicated
with more and more samples of children--younger, older, more impaired, less
impaired, single-parent families, two-parent families, families with much social
support, families with less social support, etc. The more times the curriculum
was replicated with different samples, and still shown to be effective, the more
confident we could be about making generalizations to the larger population of
children with autism and their families.
This fallacy is committed when the meaning
of one or more important words changes during an argument to make the
conclusion seem valid. For example,
"Virtually all of experience consists of constructs such as time, space, objects and cause-effect (premise). Therefore, we may say that children construct their own experiences (conclusion)."
The conclusion that children construct experience seems plausible--because the meaning of "construction" changes between the premise and the conclusion. In the premise, "construct" is a noun. Constructs are things--tools--by which children create experience. In the conclusion, "construct" is used again--only now it is a verb synonymous with "make." Since the same word is used in the premise and conclusion, a reader may accept the conclusion, just as one would accept the argument, "A rose is a rose is a rose." Well, of course it is! However, just because experience consists of constructs, does not mean that experience is constructed. Constructs (and experience) could be transmitted through communication, shaped without a child's noticing as the child interacts with her environment and learns language.
We have examined informal fallacies--arguments using words in a way that makes false or unsupported conclusions seem reasonable--to an inattentive or naive audience. But we are no longer inattentive or naive. We will not be fooled again.
Our dear SHARER Liliana Geranio has sent us written this article to SHARE:
Adapting Tasks to Learning Styles
Universidad Autónoma de Entre Ríos, Argentina
Undoubtedly, we, language teachers, are always in search for the latest innovative technique to achieve success in our lessons. Yet, more often than not, we find out that the least elaborate lessons may turn out to be the most memorable.
What does success in language teaching and learning depend on? How can we make it happen? We can revise some of the options we have at hand so as to make a difference in our learners and in our lessons.
The brain is the site of language acquisition. How can teachers "help" brains learn faster and better?
Choosing the appropriate tasks is one important step and it will depend on the level the students have and also on their learning styles.
Sometimes, we choose a task thinking it will work and it does not. Or it works for a group, but not for the others.
I have spent a lot of time analysing why this happens. And I came to the conclusion that it is because their different learning styles.
That is the reason why I consider we have to know the group before we choose the tasks we will use in the classroom..
What I generally do, is to provide the students with different kinds of tasks taking into account whether their learning styles are active, reflexive, theoretical or pragmatic.
Of course there is always a predominant style in the group, so the majority of the activities will be chosen according to that style. But we do not have to forget the minority.
To provide our students with the same opportunities to learn does not mean they have the same book, the same schedule, the same activities, the same tests... The teachers favourite teaching style may mean an unconscious favouritism to those students with the same mental thought and qualities. Analyzing learning styles offers psicological indicators that help to guide personal interactions and facilitate a way although limited of self-knoledge.
Many educators ignore their students learning styles, their capacity to keep new information or acquire new skills. A great improvement has been proved when students receive teaching adapted to their own learning styles.
Investigations have proved the diversity and relativity of learning. We can find people who organize their thoughts in a lineal, sequential way while others prefer a holistic one. These different points of view will condition the use of time, daily planning, change vision and future perspective.
More than this, different authors have showed that people think differently, get the information, process it and keep it and recover it in different ways.
Learning Styles Theories have confirmed this diversity among people and proposed a way to improve learning through the teachers and students personal conciousness on the different learning styles.
So, we face an extraordinarily important subject in a world in which learning to learn is going to become one of the capacities of social survival.
Researchers have proved that external manifestations respond to natural dispositions and also to a result of past experiencies and learning, different according to context and culture.
Learning Styles are defined in different ways by different authors and according to different investigations. The majority of them coincide in the fact that it is related to the way in which information is processed by the mind or how this information is influenced by each persons perceptions.
A learning style is a students consistent way of responding to and using stimuli in the context of learning. There are various instruments used to determine a student's learning style. The first style to be discussed is VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic), which is derived from the accelerated learning world, and seems to be about the most popular model nowadays. Its main strength is that it is quite simple, which appeals to a lot of people.
Kolb's learning inventory describes a learning process and a style, which makes it quite interesting. It can be thought of as a simpler version of the MBTI (Carl Jung and Myers Briggs Type Indicators) which is based upon determining the personality type. Kolb's version uses two dimensions, while the MBTI uses two similar dimensions, plus two additional ones.
Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences seems to provide the most promising outlook for diversifying learning.
VAK Learning Styles
The VAK learning Style uses the three main sensory receivers - Vision, Auditory, and Kinaesthetic (movement) to determine the dominate learning style.
Learners use all three to receive information. However, one or more of these receiving styles is normally dominant. This dominant style defines the best way for a person to learn new information by filtering what is to be learned. This style may not always to be the same for some tasks. The learner may prefer one style of learning for one task, and a combination of others for another task.
As teachers, we need to present information using all three styles. This allows all learners, no matter what their preferred style is, the opportunity to become involved. It also allows a learner to be presented with the other two methods of reinforcement. Just because we prefer one style, does not mean that the other two do us no good. On the contrary, they help us to learn even faster by reinforcing the material. Some hints for recognizing and implementing the three styles are:
Auditory learners often talk to themselves. They also may move their lips and read out loud. They may have difficulty with reading and writing tasks. They often do better talking to a colleague or a tape recorder and hearing what was said. To integrate this style into the learning environment:
Visual learners have two subchannels - linguistic and spatial. Learners who are visual-linguistic like to learn through written language, such as reading and writing tasks. They remember what has been written down, even if they do not read it more than once. They like to write down directions and pay better attention to lectures if they watch them. Learners who are visual-spatial usually have difficulty with written language and do better with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials. They easily visualize faces and places by using their imagination and seldom get lost in new surroundings. To integrate this style into the learning environment:
Kinaesthetic learners do best while touching and moving. It also has two subchannels - kinaesthetic (movement) and tactile (touch) They tend to lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation or movement. When listening to lectures they may want to take notes. When reading, they like to scan the material first, and then focus in on the details (get the big picture first). They typically use color highlighters and take notes by drawing pictures, diagrams, or doodling. To integrate this style into the learning environment:
Putting the Styles Together
First, it should be noted that no single measurement of style ensures that a learner's needs will be met. It is perhaps more important to build an adaptable learning environment that presents the material in a variety of methods than try to determine each learners personal style. Likewise, recognizing our own style will help to ensure we do not unintentionally force one learning style upon the learners. The more styles we address, the easier the instruction will be received by the learners. This is because we will be striving to reach their needs, not ours. Also, material presented in a variety of methods keeps the learners interested and reinforces itself.
v Alonso, C.M. (1991)Estilos de Aprendizaje: Análisis y Diagnóstico en Estudiantes Universitarios. Madrid: Universidad Complutense.
v Alonso C.M. y Gallego, D.J. (2003) Cómo diagnosticar y mejorar los estilos de aprendizaje. Madrid: UNED, Formación Permanente.
v Alonso C.M., Gallego, D.J. y Honey, P. (1999) Estilos de aprendizaje. Bilbao: Mensajero.
v Alonso C.M. y Gallego, D.J. (2004) Estilos de Aprendizaje: teoría y práctica. CDROM, Madrid: UNED.
v Butler, K. (1988) Learning and teaching style in theory and practice. Columbia: The Learners Dimension.
v Canfield, A. A. y Lafferty, J. C. (1976) Learning Style Inventory. Detroit: Humanics Media.
v Claxton, C. S. y Murrel, P. H. (1987) Learning Styles. Washington, DC: ASHE-ERIC.
v Conner, Marcia & Hodgins, Wayne (September 14, 2000). Learning Styles http://www.learnativity.com/learningstyles.html
Conner, Marcia & Hodgins,
Wayne (September 14, 2000). Learning Styles
v Duda, R. y Riley, P. (1990)Learning Styles. Nancy:Press Universitaires de Nancy.
v Dunn, R. (1996) How to implement an supervise a learning style program. Alejandria, VI: Association for Supervisión and Curriculum Development.
v Dunn, R.y Dunn, K. (1984) La Enseñanza y el Estilo Individual de Aprendizaje. Madrid: Anaya.
v Dunn, R.; Dunn, K.y Perrin, J. (1994) Teaching Young Children Through Their Individual Learning Styles. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
v Dunn, R. y Griggs, S. A. (1995) Multiculturalism and learning styles: Teaching and counseling adolescents. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
v Dunn, R. y Griggs, S. A. (1998) Learning Styles and Nursing Profesión. New York: NLN Press.
v Gardner, Howard (1993). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (10th Anniversary Edition). NY: Basic Books.
v .Grasha, A. y Richlin, L. (1996) Teaching with style: A practical guide to enhancing learning by understanding teaching and learnings styles. Pittburgh, PA: Alliance Publishers.
v Griggs, S. A. (1991) Learning Styles Counseling. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.
v Honey, P. y Mumford, A. (1986) Using our Learning Styles.Berkshire, U.K.: Peter Honey.
v Hoover, J. J. (1991) Classroom Aplications of Cognitive Learning Styles. Boulder, Colorado : Hamilton Publications.
v Jung, C. G. (1933). Psychological Types. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
v Keefe, J.W. y Thompson, S. D. (1987) Learning style theory and practice. Reston, VA:NASSP.
v Kolb, D. (1985) LSI (Learning Style Inventory): User´s guide. Boston: McBer & Company.
v Riding, R. y Buckle, C. (1990) Learning Styles and Training Performance. Sheffield: The Training Agency.
v Congreso Internacional de Estilos de Aprendizaje. (2004) .UNED. Madrid.
4.- FIRST VIRTUAL ELT CONFERENCE
First virtual ELT conference - the Future of Modern Languages Teaching - hosted entirely on-line by the Department of Modern Languages, Cultures and Literatures, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, from 4-10 July 2005.
Participants log on from all over the world at their own location and in their own time
and are invited to comment on other papers submitted. This virtual conference is FREE.
Papers are welcomed within one or more of the
following thematic categories:
1. Education Teaching of Modern Languages, Cultures and Literatures;
2. Multiculturalism in Languages Courses Classes;
3. Internet for Modern Languages;
4. Composition, Creative Writing and Grammar;
5. Teaching Foreign Languages;
6. Teaching Cultural Studies;
7. Teaching Foreign Literatures;
8. The Bologna Process and Modern Languages Courses.
Papers may still be submitted for presentation in this virtual forum. Please send abstracts (up to 500 words) to email@example.com no later than June 19th, 2005.
For further details please see http://www.fcsh.unl.pt/cv2005
5.- III ENCUENTRO DE GRAMÁTICA GENERATIVA
Our dear SHARER Elena Ganazoli de Marson has sent us this announcement:
III Encuentro de Gramática Generativa
Los días 18, 19 y 20 de agosto de 2005 se llevará a cabo, en la Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad Nacional del Comahue, de la ciudad de Neuquén, el III Encuentro de Gramática Generativa. Al igual que en las dos primeras ediciones, celebradas en la Escuela Superior de Idiomas de la Universidad Nacional del Comahue (General Roca) en noviembre de 2001 y el I.E.S en Lenguas Vivas "Juan Ramón Fernández" (Buenos Aires) en agosto de 2003, el principal objetivo de este encuentro es estimular la discusión acerca de los temas salientes de la lingüística generativa actual y, paralelamente, establecer un ámbito de encuentro e intercambio para los grupos de investigación sobre gramática generativa de nuestro país.
El tiempo de exposición para cada trabajo será de treinta minutos, con diez minutos adicionales para preguntas (aproximadamente 12 páginas A4 con letra Times New Roman 12 y espaciado simple). La selección de los trabajos se basará en los resúmenes, que podrán ser enviados hasta el 1º de mayo de 2005 y en los que deberá explicitarse marco teórico, hipótesis y objetivos del trabajo (extensión máxima: 1 página A4 con letra Times New Roman 10 y espaciado simple). El 31 de mayo se informará a los autores si su ponencia ha sido aceptada para su presentación.
Los trabajos deberán ser contribuciones originales a la teoría lingüística y/o a la descripción gramatical de una lengua particular. Las áreas temáticas son fonología, morfología, sintaxis, léxico, semántica, interfaces (fonología-morfología, sintaxis-morfología, sintaxis-léxico, etc.), adquisición del lenguaje, filosofía del lenguaje.
El arancel de inscripción al encuentro es de $30 para todos los participantes, salvo los estudiantes de grado, que quedan exceptuados del pago. Se otorgarán certificados a los ponentes y a los asistentes.
Elena Benedicto (Purdue University)
Marcela Depiante (Universidad Nacional del Comahue)
Angela Di Tullio (Universidad Nacional del Comahue)
David Embick (University of Pennsylvania)
Olga Fernández Soriano (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Celia Jakubowicz (Université de Paris V CNRS)
Nora Múgica (Universidad Nacional de Rosario)
Jairo Nunes (Universidade de Sao Paulo)
Josep Quer (ICREA & Universitat de Barcelona)
Por la Universidad Nacional del Comahue: Ángela Di Tullio, Adriana Álvarez, Marcela Depiante,Andrés Saab, Sandra Cvejanov,
María de los Ángeles Dalmau y María Eugenia Llambí.
Por CONICET/ Universidad de Buenos Aires Moira Alvarez, Lucía Brandani y Laura Kornfeld y Pablo Zdrojewski (CONICET)
Informes: Para mayor información, escribir a: firstname.lastname@example.org
6.- NEW TOOLS FOR TEACHERS EASTER COURSE
March 24 - 10:00 to 13:00
In this workshop we broach the subject of taboo words, vulgarities and insults. We discover the hidden meanings of innocent looking words and we reflect on how languages differ when expressing violence, anger and some biological processes. We attempt to answer the often asked question, How do you say... which lots of students put to us. We will listen to a comedian elaborating on the seven words you cannot say on the radio or TV. Participants will receive a full set of exercises, an answer key, and an annotated bibliography.
A repeat version will be offered on Saturday, April 16, 10:00 to 13:00
March 24 - 14:30 to 17:30
BRAIN BASED LEARNING AND TEACHING
We learn mostly with our brains, anyway, but is the teaching that our students are subjected to brain compatible? We will explore the notion of brain compatibility and whether the research on how the brain works is relevant to the teaching of English as a foreign language. We will set a framework to elucidate if brain compatible teaching can bring about a revolution in the EFL classrooms, and to answer the question of whether BBL/T is a genuine new trend or just a fashion.
Repeat version: Saturday, April 23, 10:00 to 13:00
March 25 - 10:00 to 13:00
MODELS OF THE WORLD: AN INTRODUCTION
Most difficulties in communication stem from the fact that we think that our model of the world is the same as that of our interlocutors. In this session we will discuss how understanding the way in which we build our models of the world can help us connect with most people respectfully and compassionately. Awareness of the diversity of models of the world should be a key concept in educational theory and practice.
Repeat version: Thursday, May 12, 17:30 to 20:00
March 25 -14:30 to 17:00
CORRECTING ERRORS: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
In this session we will quickly review how attitudes towards errors have changed over the past twenty years, fundamentally from a linguistic point of view. We will then proceed to present a humanistic perspective which is applicable not only in language teaching but in the whole spectrum of education and in the art of living.
Repeat version: Thursday, June 9, 17:30 to 20:00
Saturday, March 26 - 10:00 to 13:00
What is meditation anyway? Is it something that just yogis or hermits engage in? Is it something removed from the concerns of the busy teacher whose valuable time can perhaps best be spent on catching up with the latest trends in ELT or going to the gym to let off steam? Can meditation be just an alternative to physical exercise or can it offer something quite different that can really help people unwind at a deeper level and assist them into connecting with their essence? In today's world and in a country where an increasing number of people are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication either medically or self prescribed, with the ensuing negative consequences, meditation can prove to be a true oasis and a starting point for true transformation. Teachers owe it to themselves to become knowledgeable of it and, bold and strange though it may seem, consider ways to introduce it in the classroom. Foreign language teachers have a unique opportunity to introduce meditation unobstrusively in their lessons. Come and find out how.
Repeat version: June 30, 17:30 to 20:00
Venue for the whole Easter Course : New England School of English Santa Fé 5130
Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Repeat versions will be held at SBS Palermo, Coronel Diaz 1747, Ciudad de Buenos Aires.
Admission fee for each session $20. Any three sessions $50. Any four sessions $60. Whole course $70. These discounts are not valid for the repeat versions.
Limited vacancies. Registrations on a first come, first served basis. We cannot reserve your seat unless you have paid for it.
All sessions will be conducted by Oriel E. Villagarcía
Profesor en Inglés, Universidad Nacional de Tucuman, M.A. in Linguistics for ELT from the University of Lancaster, England, graduate studies at the University of Texas, Fulbright and British Council Scholar, Master Practitioner of NLP, Certificate of Completion, NLP University, Santa Cruz, California, Certified Administrator of the Myer Briggs Type Indicator, CAPT, Florida, Certified Breema Practitioner, Certified reflexologist. Oriel has studied Thai Massage, Esalen Massage, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Polarity, Shiatsu, yoga and Chi Kung among other mind body disciplines. He was Head of English Department at the Universidad Católica de Salta, taught Linguistics at the Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto, and NLP at the Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero. He is a co-founder of what is today FAAPI (Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés) and co-founder and first president of ASPI, Asociación Salteña de Profesores de Inglés.
1. Personally at any of the SBS Brances throughout the country. Check addresses, phone numbers, etc. by visiting www.sbs.com.ar Be sure to indicate exactly which sessions you are registering for. Once you have paid, email email@example.com with the information. Include your full name, address, phone number and email.
2. By fax. Select the session you will attend and make a deposit in any of the following Stratford Book Services accounts:
Banco de Galicia cce
Banco Bisel cce 75636-5 suc 185
Ban Sud ca 672-472277
Banco Suquia cce 32-16-028759-0
Send a fax of your deposit slip with your full name clearly written and the sessions that you are registering for to SBS Parque Chacabuco, (011) 4 926 0194, 4921 8983, and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the relevant information, i.e. full name, phone number, address, sessions you will be attending and details of your deposit in the SBS account.
7- RESOURCEFUL TEACHING AND NLP
Our dear SHARER Jamie Duncan has sent us this article:
Resourceful Teaching and NLP
Many teachers already know what NLP is. If it is a new term for you, you are welcome to visit our webpage www.resourcefulteaching.com.ar for more information, or send us an email with your snail-mail address to receive our free booklet with information about NLP and our courses and publications.
As there has been an increasing growth in the use of the term "the Resourceful Teaching Approach" we would like to clarify a little bit what RT is. Even though the basis of everything we do is NLP, when we started to specialise in the field of Education, we carried out research in other fields, complemented our courses with knowledge and information that came from other disciplines (following the NLP adage which says that we should use everything that works, and making our approach functional and eclectic). After a couple of years, our students and ourselves discovered that we had given birth to something new, and started calling it "The RT Approach".
We would like to point out that "The RT Approach" is NOT an ELT Methodology, but rather, it is a practical philosophy. In Resourceful Teaching we work on three areas of interest:
1. The first one is the teacher.
When we speak about the great need of changes in Education, we know that as teachers -unless we start to work for the Ministry of Education in the area of design and planning - there is not much we can do, unless we do things to grow and improve ourselves. We teachers and parents agree that there are lots of things which should be done, but very few people take the first step. When we work in this area, we require that the teachers get to know themselves better, become more complete and fulfilled human beings, develop a level of awareness that helps them see beyond their classes. We guide teachers to develop their vision, discover their mission and align themselves with their beliefs and values. We show them ways to establish rapport with their students, the students' parents, the coordinators and heads of their schools and institutes. We help them become aware that the best place to start to improve Education and the world is US, our own selves. We analyse peaceful ways to solve conflicts and put them into practice! We support their learning process with patience and love, modelling the attitude we would love to see in the educators of our time. Training: we offer the RT NLP Practitioner Course, and Master Practitioner Course, and the three-day retreat like course "A Spa for the Teacher's Soul" (For more info, write to email@example.com ) For teachers who want to work on their own we are about to publish "Really Thriving, a manual for teachers who want to grow". We will let you know as soon as it is available.
2. The second area of application is the one which is more similar to a traditional teaching and learning approach, which is the development of materials, activities, classroom ideas to foster creativity, flow and enthusiasm during the learning process. We have one book available now: Passionfruit by Jamie Duncan with loads of ideas to use in the classroom. We offer our short courses twice a year in Buenos Aires, and we travel to other cities, provinces and countries and participate in Conferences to share what we do with our students with our colleagues.
3. The third area of application is the student itself. We have developed materials and ideas to help our students know themselves and their learning styles better, so they can take the reins of their own learning, be committed with the learning material and find ways to make good use of their time, energy and inner states. The RT approach here goes beyond traditional student training, as it is not a simple list of "tips"-though they can be extremely useful to start with-, but a responsible way to lead our students through insights that will help them be the protagonists of their learning. The book "Aprendiendo ingles y disfrutando el proceso" by Laura Szmuch is a book for students- though a lot of teachers, schools and institutes are using it - with RT and NLP techniques to guide them through the process of acquisition of the language.
If you would like to get more information about the publications send an email to : firstname.lastname@example.org
So when our students finish our courses, they are not only NLP Practitioners, but also they have specialised in Education with the empowering awareness of their own inner resources plus all the knowledge and experience that they gain throughout the course.
We feel more than satisfied when we see so many teachers who have taken our courses who tell us that their relationship with the profession is completely different after they have taken the course, that they have improved their personal lives and their teaching, that they have started training teachers around the country in workshops, seminars and conferences using our approach and materials, that some of them have developed their own materials based on what they learned in the RT NLP Practitioner course (e-mail us if you want more info about what they are doing as regards, for example, the teaching of Phonetics, or the teaching of Literature using RT/NLP techniques and we will connect you with them).
This is part of a fourth aspect of our work, which has to do with networking, putting people together, growing and expanding, reflecting on values and helping teachers be the great professionals our world deserves.
Enrolment for this years Practitioner Certificate in NLP for Education is now open. The course starts in April and is held one Saturday a month. If you would like more information about it please contact us at email@example.com
We are giving a FREE TALK on Saturday 12 March from 10.00 12.00 Versailles, City of Buenos Aires.
Find out more about Neuro Linguistic Programming, its application to education and the Resourceful Teaching approach to teaching and learning. Get information about the Practitioner Certificate in NLP for Education.
Enrolment for the FREE TALK is essential.
Contact us to enrol or for any other information: Laura Szmuch:
Phone enquiries to (011 4641-9068)
Venue: Gallardo 719, Versailles, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
8- EL PLACER DE TRADUCIR
Our dear SHARER Sylvia Falchuk has sent us this invitation:
Torre de Papel y AATI Asociación Argentina de Trductores e Intérpretes-lo invitan a la presentación del libro de Leandro Wolfson :El Placer de Traducir
Actividad no arancelada, con inscripción previa.
Miércoles 30 de marzo de 2005, de 19 a 21
Hotel El Conquistador Salón Hidalgo, Subsuelo - Suipacha 948 - Buenos Aires,
Harán referencia al
autor y la obra María Cristina Pinto, presidenta de AATI, Miguel Ángel
Montezanti, docente de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata e investigador del
Conicet, y Sylvia Falchuk, directora de Torre de Papel.
En la segunda parte de esta Presentación, Leandro Wolfson responderá preguntas que le hayan formulado por escrito los inscriptos. Cada asistente deberá consignar su pregunta en el formulario de inscripción. ¿Qué le preguntaría usted a un traductor profesional de muchos años de experiencia?
Si por alguna razón,
después de haberse inscripto, usted no puede concurrir, le solicitamos nos lo
haga saber para que otro colega pueda inscribirse en su lugar.
Informes e Inscripción: Torre de Papel www.torredepapel.com.ar
firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel./Fax: 00-54-11- 47752198
Habrá un puesto de venta de material bibliográfico especializado de Torre de Papel.
9.- POSITIONS VACANT
Our dear SHARERS Daniela Cassinelli and Liliana Martinez have written to us to advertise these positions:
English Teacher Required for Institute in Olivos
Level: for a First Certificate Course