Friday, November 17, 2017

From One Paragraph Writing To Five-Paragraph-Essay


         If the students could follow the gradual evolvement of their temptation to write, they would surely come out with quite good production. Their problem is that they want things done quickly. Writing in particular is known for its toughness for the learners; that’s why they need to be patient and systematic in their endeavour to master this complicated skill. Engaging in writing is preparing oneself for consuming extra time and energy.

         Extending a paragraph into a five-paragraph essay needs some steps to follow. When a student learns how to write a paragraph, he normally could extend it to make it an essay. Each paragraph has got only one idea to talk about. Generally the topic sentence should state it plainly, and all that remains are supporting details about the topic. If the readers are not interested in the idea stated in the topic sentence, they have only to skip reading the whole paragraph. However if the topic of the paragraph interests the readers, it is quite imperative for them to examine the details, I mean the whole paragraph.

          This paper intends to show how to develop an action plan and how to manage writing a more detailed five-paragraph-essay. It is a practical way to make the transition from one paragraph to an essay very smooth, concentrated and effortless. Still, writing remains a long recursive process and a relatively tough skill. Writing is known for its exigency in terms of time, concentration, background knowledge, patience and savoir faire.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Emojis for improving skimming and scanning skills


           Emojis have already had a widespread influence on the teens’ evolving new culture today, so it is really out of hard-headedness to resist and reject them pretending they are only good for pointless chat sessions on social media.

            Emojis can be of great assistance in facilitating skimming and scanning for better understanding, as well as controlling the amount of time spent on reading comprehension assignments.

            In connection to a previously published article on using “Emojis for teaching English as a foreign language », this paper comes to question the ability of emojis in boosting reading comprehension skills.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Which teaching method for which Learning situation?

Joseph Novak (1998) points out that every educational act consists of five elements:       (1) learner,
            (2) teacher,
            (3) knowledge,
            (4) context,
            (5) evaluation

            Nobody actually is willing to learn lessons that are not inspiring; so this generation Y of learners particularly is. They are not ready to accept anything that does not motivate them? The worst of all is that it becomes tougher to motivate them. This situation zooms and inflates the overlooked question notably “What would ever be inspiring for them?” Taking what they come across daily on their digital gadgets into consideration, nothing is so attractively new to stimulate them. They have almost had enough of everything so quickly that their concentration has been lost in the tiny details of trivial information. How to mend this and start reformulating their perception of the world beneficially is what school nowadays has to focus upon. Methods come and go, but the students are always going to school for learning. Don’t you smell the paradox here? Such is the nature of this era.

            Within this messy interwoven net of information and disinformation, everybody is trapped. What happens is that the learners realize that school is incapable of lending them a salvage hand. With its archaic tools of rescue, school has become unable to pull them out of the moors of social media where the obscurity or diversion is pitch black though it looks as bright as daylight especially for teenagers.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

« Too & Enough » : The missing stitch in the lesson

You don’t need to think too much to make sure you are

            In connection with previously published papers on teaching creatively, this one is part of a series of detailed thoughts elaborating on the topic. It consists of meticulous explanations on how to teach “too & enough” in a way that develops the learners’ curiosity and inquiry. The aim shifts from delivering the lesson conventionally to teaching it in a more creative way. Both the teacher and her students have to engage in transforming usual activities in class into challenging cognitive game-like lessons. Interaction will do the rest.

            The teacher should adopt a more lenient way in presenting the target tutorial by allowing the students to give it soft pushes as the lesson progresses. The students, on the other hand, are expected to show their grasp of the lesson about the confusing words “too” and “enough” with adjectives and other parts of speech for instance, by rigorous practice and bright ideas. They should learn to be able to expand their understanding scope of the use and usage of language to go deeper and wider with creative manipulations of these words in different contexts. The more varied and remarkable the sentences are the more creativity takes place.

            The digital students learn in a variety of ways, a little inelegantly through games and interesting assorted exercises; aren’t they multi-tasking learners?! That’s why teachers have to focus on the mental side to rouse their curiosity and encourage them to get engaged and to think creatively. Cognitive methods work well with them. It stretches their scope about learning and beyond. Teachers, especially the young hats, roughly belong to the same generation, so they can find out ways to involve the students in their own learning so as to become able to pave their personal paths into learning creatively and innovatively.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Minding Education for Educating the mind


Open your mind,
Let your brain breathe

            Open your mind only once and you will never be able to close it again. With an open mind, life looks infinite and interesting, but some people persistently never want to open their minds for fear they should be disturbed by the bright evidence that they were in the dark. There are people who look as if they prefer sticking to ignorance. There are no stupid learners except the ones who never accept openness and improvement. They don’t want to exert any mind effort. They just wait for the teacher to offer them readymade answers to global issues. When teachers give anything, they must show that every piece of knowledge has an expiration date. Nothing is permanent in knowledge. The previous year already belongs to the far primitive past. Therefore learners have to make use of what they learn at school in progressing by themselves using their minds. This way they’ll perceive the world from different angles as it will have varied shapes, colors and dimensions. They’ll gain a new perspective for transforming old views and ideas into a powerful tool for improvement which will not only affect the world around them, but it will have a positive impact on their future.

            The social web has greatly affected the students’ knowledge and beliefs as the mind is very sensitive to the environment it belongs to. The social media has the power to shape a new risky culture for the new generation. Now most of the youth are hooked on the multiplying social networking sites, and they are normally receiving huge quantities of information that forge their thoughts and tendencies. They have neither the time nor the skills necessary to sift, pick up, adapt and adopt knowingly. The impact is so significant that school has to boost the students’ minds to be able to evaluate and filter the input. Most of the information they encounter is wide-ranging and often fallacious or contradictory. It is also far from being scientifically proven. Most of it is generally an amalgamation of impressions and volatile pieces of information that have no basis in reality. Therefore, the damage on the brain is fatal, and it could lead to serious dysfunction of the mind, or even complete brainwash.

            If you cannot understand a text in the way the author wants you to understand it, it is not the writer’s problem, and it is not yours either. I am sure the problem is in the content of the text. Fair enough, isn’t it? Maybe, but there should be a certain degree of compatibility between the waves of transmission and those of reception; otherwise both the writer’s mind and yours have different natures. The writer and the reader are accomplices in forming the meaning of the text. The mind is the machine which can transmit and receive information according to its references or conceptions based on formerly installed programs. That’s why closed minds never tolerate anything which doesn’t dovetail with its already existing fossilized designs and thinking patterns. Open minds, on the other hand, have habits and traits which are so flexible that they can receive, analyze, synchronize, and then accept or reject providing sufficient arguments for each of both reactions. Therefore, it all depends on the type of mind one has.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Expressing Concession & Contrast Creatively


            At school, creativity killers are numerous, and they are not easily detectable because they are mostly unintentional. It is after rigorous investigations that they can be spotted and avoided for more creativity among the learners. Basically, creativity is killed by orders, fear, control, conformity, conditioning and so on. Susan Greenfield says that “growing up” is what kills creativity. True, because adults have already developed ways to do things and refuse to think about alternative ways. Creativity is revived by the need for something, like saving time, effort, material, space, money, energy and a lot more. This reminds me of the old proverb which goes, “The art of necessity is strange, it makes vile things precious

            Simply, what kills creativity at school is “Do it this way”. And it is in tests that the phenomenon is amplified, “Rewrite as indicated” or “Rewrite with the words given”. When we ask the students to do an activity in a predisposed way, they don’t have enough options to think creatively. However, like problem solving, when we ask them to do an exercise in their own way, they might astonish us by doing it in a way that has never come across our minds, and that’s creativity.

            “Here is a “useless” thing, what can you do with it? How can you make it useful for something? Give it a new feature to make it functional somehow”. These instructions incite creativity and allow the students to think beyond the usual. Believe me if the students were given freedom to do a task in their own way, they would do it marvelously well. They can even reveal a lot about their thinking strategies, and why not about their innate genius faculties. On the other hand, those with little or no imagination will be forced to sharpen their imagination and thinking skills to come up with rewarding results.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ambiguity tolerance as a key skill for maintaining lifelong language learning

“The greater the ambiguity, the greater the pleasure”
Milan Kundera


            Ambiguity in communication represents a big threat for EFL learners. They immediately surrender and stop learning as soon as they couldn’t understand the connections of items which might help them construct meaning. Therefore, the teacher has to handle this problem:
         1. Either by never using texts with ambiguous words or structures
         2. Or by teaching the learners how to cope with ambiguity.

         I guess the first solution is completely inappropriate because texts in real life situations are not all ambiguity free. Besides, it kills creativity and deactivates thinking. So, the second is the most convenient approach although it requires hard work and prudence to implement it.

         Tolerating ambiguity is “a tendency to perceive or interpret information marked by vague, incomplete, fragmented, multiple, probable, unstructured, uncertain, inconsistent, contrary, contradictory, or unclear meanings as actual or potential sources of psychological discomfort or threat” (Ely, 1995, p. 88). 

         Striving to learn a foreign language is already an indication that the learners are aware of the difficulty of the task and that they are ready to tolerate novelty as well as ambiguity. Despite the diversity of learning styles and personality traits, the students, especially the prejudiced ones, have to be tolerant towards pragmatic ambiguity so as to be able to smash the barriers of dogma which generally impede them from accomplishing normal and successful interaction with ambiguous input of any sort. Ambiguity intolerance can be summed up as the rejection of and resistance to the unusual or different intermittent stimuli which don’t correlate with previously formed ideas and adopted attitudes.

         This paper aims at showing how comprehension of a text should not only focus on understanding the explicit but also the inferential meaning with a little inclination towards training the learners to tolerate vagueness since moderate level of ambiguity can have very positive effects on poor or incomplete schemata. Apart from Frege*, perhaps, everybody else agrees that ambiguity is a very powerful tool.  In a language learning context, simplicity but not simplification is what urges the learners to grasp the technique of assimilating the dubious and ambiguous about texts in order to be able, later on, to go further with undertaking ambiguity resolutions in real life situations.
* Gottlob Frege (1848/1925), German philosopher, Mathematician and logician.