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Teaching methods and writing

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Teaching methods and writing

Postby Hokwongwei » 20 Jan 2015, 20:57

Mod's note: The 11 following posts were split from https://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtop ... 7#p1667887

I think the irony is that it's "different teaching method in Taiwan," and yet the result is still a totally lame essay that uses bullet points as substitute for structure and flow.
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby lostinasia » 20 Jan 2015, 21:25

Hokwongwei wrote:I think the irony is that it's "different teaching method in Taiwan," and yet the result is still a totally lame essay that uses bullet points as substitute for structure and flow.

Eh, most of my writing students start off with no points, no structure, and no flow. If they've at least got points and structure by the end of the semester I'm moderately happy.
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Hokwongwei » 20 Jan 2015, 21:47

Whenever I criticize something in the office, the writers usually reply with "we never learned about logic when writing essays in Chinese. They just had to look nice."

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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Ducked » 20 Jan 2015, 22:53

Well, since y'all are taking it so seriously, here's the whole thing, for your pedagogic pontification.

That'll larn yer

"I like to study English, especially Ed teacher English lessons.

Frist, its intersting and full of fun. Second, it's different from teaching method in Taiwan. Finally, I have not to remember many words or different tense.
I think its joyful and relax. That's why I like it."


I "teach" it as a "standard" Statement - Support (3 reasons/examples)-Conclusion

This of course is horribly formulaic and likely to produce horribly formulaic writing (if any).

They get the points mostly for the structure, which is what I'm after, then I take, say, a point off for every four errors.

This has the required bits, with about 6 errors, plus its wrongly formatted, since its only supposed to be a paragraph, not an essay (however lame).

So it gets 18/20

I dunno if its a joke, but since an unusually/undesirably high proportion of this final assessment was past tenses, I'm suspicious of " I have not to remember many words or different tense."
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Chris » 21 Jan 2015, 04:17

No wonder students keep writing like this:

"I want go to America for three reasons first reason America is a diverse country second reason American teaching is better than Taiwanese teaching third reason America is home of the NBA I want to go to America for the above three reasons."
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby ironlady » 21 Jan 2015, 07:23

So, quick question: how many essays of the type they are being asked to write have they been asked to read? How many of those (if any) were at their actual reading level?

You can't expect anything to come out that wasn't put in in the first place. Even native speaking children have issues with organization of pieces of writing, and criticizing run-on sentences (typical and correct in Chinese)...? This all sounds to me like kids who have been forced to interact with texts that were beyond their level, so they couldn't spare any effort from decoding (more likely, frantically writing notes right over the text) to think about anything else, like, I don't know, the meaning of the whole thing.
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Ducked » 21 Jan 2015, 17:48

Chris wrote:No wonder students keep writing like this:

"I want go to America for three reasons first reason America is a diverse country second reason American teaching is better than Taiwanese teaching third reason America is home of the NBA I want to go to America for the above three reasons."


You think that's bad? Where ya bin?

Ok, the conclusion fails to summarise the argument: -3. Sentence errors (run ons) and "embedded headings" (dunno the correct terminology there) -3, plus an additional "crap factor" -1 or 2, so probably I'd give it 13/20, which is still a pass. Mea culpa.

From my observation of other peoples stray question papers, students here mostly keep writing like this:-

A
C
A
D

Or, if their instructor is well in with admin:-
.
.
.
.

A lot of the initial difficulty is convincing them that yes, I really do expect them to write sentences, and if they don't they really will lose a lot of points. Its quite common for them to simply ignore those questions
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby ironlady » 22 Jan 2015, 03:19

And once more, what steps are you taking to help them achieve this, other than being disappointed on Web sites about their results?

They ARE writing sentences. If they're not getting enough input in the L2, they are going to fall back on the L1, and guess what -- , , , , , is a typical Chinese sentence, and quite well-written.
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Ducked » 22 Jan 2015, 14:18

ironlady wrote:And once more, what steps are you taking to help them achieve this, other than being disappointed on Web sites about their results?

They ARE writing sentences. If they're not getting enough input in the L2, they are going to fall back on the L1, and guess what -- , , , , , is a typical Chinese sentence, and quite well-written.


You talking to me?

Seems that way, which is odd, because your comments don't appear to have a very direct relationship with what I posted.

If you have a look above, you'll see I'm not particularly expressing disappointment. My original post above was because I thought the student para was mildly amusing, and probably an attempt at humour on the part of the student concerned. Hence it was within the scope of the original "Funny Things My Students Say" thread.

You expressed disagreement with that view, which is not something I care to argue about.

Another poster then gave us a "typical" piece of student writing, apparently as an awful example of what "my" style of teaching resulted in. This may well be a legitimate (implied) criticism of me, but, as I said, I didn't think the writing was that bad, in context, and, on the most hostile possible interpretation of my "rubric", it would get a pass.

While I have no particular expectation of overcoming Taiwanese students affection for the comma splice, and don't particularly make a big deal out of it, it is an error, and I count it as such. I see no viable alternative to this, and I couldn't really care less if its correct in Chinese. I'm not attempting to teach Chinese.

Re the dearth of comprehensible input, I've tested the schools approved external reading materials, found (predictably) that they were far too difficult for the majority of classes, and reported the results of my tests to the curriculum committee, to (predictably) null response.

As you have been at pains to point out repeatedly in the past, the school do not care what I think, and I should just shut up and do as I'm told.

These days I mostly shut up and do as I like.

A Taiwanese college reports considerable success (probably subjectively assessed) with the introduction of lots of short articles in addition to the approved materials, and asked me to consider that. She says she couldn't make such a suggestion to Taiwanese teachers because (a) it would be perceived as a criticism, and (b) they are too lazy.

I will consider it, but these are "all skills" , not dedicated writing classes, there isn't much time for in-class reading, and many students absolutely will not read English outside of class, especially if not motivated by testing, so there are practical difficulties.

These paragraphs are 20 points in a 110 -130 point test, of which I have 250 to finish grading today, plus similar for external reading and classwork to produce final grades by Friday midnight. This means the amount of time available for stylistic nuances (or arguing about them on forums) is currently rather limited.

Anyway, we must be off-topic by now, surely?
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby ironlady » 22 Jan 2015, 23:11

I'm talking to everyone who's posting bad writing examples, but I suppose you're the one who most recently posted that you EXPECT this and that. If you EXPECT, you need to TEACH first, that's all I'm saying. Your whole attitude toward your students (as stated in this thread) is that they are a bunch of pointy-headed (your deathless adjective there) people who just don't care. Most people will do things right if they are able to and they know how to and they see a reason to (competence, knowledge, motivation). Most likely one or more of those are missing in this situation. I don't get the impression that anyone would be particularly motivated to be in your class at this point, if that's how you think of your students. Yes, I checked the original post for the obligatory "just kidding smiley face", which was not there.

And my telling you to shut up and do what you are told didn't extend to how you teach; as you are perfectly well aware, that discussion was about school policies. There are a million ways you can teach the same text if that text is required.
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