Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In a modern society television has enjoyed more popularities than any other forms of entertainments among the city dwellers. However as television occupies more and more people’s spare times, TV commercials has gradually and silently snaked into our vision, they are disturbing, people complained, because they are too much and come too often , they are gradually changing the TV watching experience from a enjoyable relaxing one to a disappointed even frustrated one. Some has suggested that TV commercials should be banned, in a sense I would like to agree with the propose, cause I suffered from watching these endless commercials as much as they do, honestly speaking watching a channel without any commercials would be heavens for me, however realistically speaking I do not think that the possibilities of banning the commercial exist anywhere in the business oriented modern societies.
First of all, television stations have to survive, TV commercials generate a major revenue for these stations to remain themselves on the stage, otherwise they gone out of the business, in other words banning the commercials you are cutting the throat of the stations, no commercials no other programs either, the argument stops, now we can happily enjoy reading our books again, but what about those people who can not read or do not like reading , do not mention those who just love TV so much , watching TV is just like their daily bread, the situation would be a disaster for the TV lovers and the lonely hearted all over the community.
Secondly, the TV commercials are not all that bad aren’t they, they provide a lot of useful information for us, look at yourselves in the mirror how many things your are wearing or carrying has no any relationship directed or indirectly with the TV commercials, we have to admit that our life has been influenced a great deal by the commercials, I wonder that if it is fair to say that we are so used to, we are spoiled by the convenience that the commercials have provided us. It is so ironic that the commercials are like something that we sometime hate it so much, but we need it, and until the moment that we get it all out of our world we are not going to realize that we do need it badly.
Last but not least, if you are patient enough, and have just a little bit sense of artistry, you would discover the beauty of the TV commercials, what I mean is that these TV commercials are produced so fine, why do not you try to see them with the eyes of an artist, rather than just sit there complaining.
Based on the discussion above it may be appeared to my audiences that I have promoted the TV commercials somewhat to much, it probably rises the suspense that I am hired man of the commercials companies or some TV stations, but trust me , I am only speaking my own words, and I honestly believe that the secret to every solution is the balanced point, either to much or not at all is not good for us, what we really need is a balanced point, but the question is that where the balanced point lies, I would like to leave this question to all my dear audiences to decide and hopefully I’ll soon discover some changes when I watch TV commercials again .

Thursday, August 03, 2006

In the field of English writing teaching researchers tend to use skilled writers and unskilled writers to categorizing language learners. I found that it is quite funny to categorize writers this way, do we really have the standard for skilled or unskilled writer. Even if we do have the standard, do we really care about this, or there is something more important than skills when comes to writing. What is the purpose of the writing teaching, of course as a teacher we want our students to know how to write, but what is the proof that your students really know how to write, by showing you that they know all the writing skills or a good essay instead, you may argue that how come a learn who knows very well of the writing skills comes out with a bad essay, are you trying to tell me that knowing the skills is the guarantee of a good essay. No, a good essay needs something more than skills. I can prove this to you. If skills are the guarantee of a good essay, then it is impossible for someone who does not know the skills to write a good essay. However the truth is on the contrary, top writers were not learned to be the top, they were not following any rules since there was not any rules before, and they are creators of the rules, in other words, not good skills created good writing, but good writings created all the rules and skills. We summarized all the good points from the surface then made up so called skills and then use it to evaluate the learners. However, what we understood is from the point of production, we have no idea about the producer, we only know what is good , because it has already been created , however we have no idea about how it was created, no matter how much we pretend that we know.

Friday, July 28, 2006

This is my first semester here in Iwate University and my first year in Japan. Time past so fast, just like a blinking of eyes , the scene of the arriving night to the University’s dormitory seems like yesterday and here I am, not mentally willing yet have to be prepared to say that I am not a new comer, I’ve been around for a while, what a pity . Specially when think about my Japanese, I can not really say that my Japanese have not improved , however the realization of it’ll take ages for me to master the language really knocks me to the ground, oh , boy.
This one is a self analysis of the strengths and weaknesses for being an English teacher. Honestly speaking I really want to talk about my weakness instead of strengths, because I discovered that one serious weak point could cover all the strengths you may have. How many of you would agree with me if I say that public speaking is an art, as a teacher no matter at primary school or university level, no matter what kind of teaching strategies and methodologies implemented, oral communication or in the other words the way you talk to your students is the essential factor to the success of classroom teaching. We often hear teachers say in the class that I am sorry, I talked too much I should give you guys more opportunities to speak. Yet to me, speaks little and listens all the time does not necessary make someone a good communicator. The point is not how long you keep listening; it is how much you listened. I could listen to someone for hours with a little interruptions and feedback, however my mind just engage too much with my own ideas, it seems that I am listening yet I am interpreting the speaker’s words my way, in other words I listen very carefully but I do not comprehend the points from the speaker’s position. If I am too wrapped up with myself no matter how patiently I listened to my students I am not going to be a good helper to them, because I’ll never really understand them. Anyone who has a similar problem with me or you have any suggestions please share with me, thanks.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I chose the topic that correct thinking lead to correct writing—think in English the essential ability for improving EFl learner’s English writing skills, based on several reasons.
First of all, the nature of the language tells us that languages are the expression forms of the thoughts. Especially written form of the language requires even more explicit and creative thinking process. Zamel(1982) proposed that writing is a process of exploring one’s thoughts and learning from the act of writing itself what these thoughts are. Before every linguistic and metacognitive knowledge, before every writing skills and teaching approaches, English writing has to be the expression of English thoughts at the first place, if the thought doesn’t exist there is no expression of it, in other word if an EFL does not have the ability to think in English, then the person has no ability to compose in English. Some researchers consider that write in L1 and then translate into English as a strategy for English writing. This is a misperception of English writing, in the sense this approach against the nature of the language. For example if an EFL first write in L1 which is Chinese then translate the writing into English , this learner actually did two thing, first write in Chinese the whole composition process was done by think in Chinese, then he translate it into English . In this process does the person really write in English or he just translates the other language into English. During the whole process, the only thing he did which is relate to English was translating, can this be perceived as one of the strategies for English writing, may be not because it is not an English writing at the first place. The result of examine the current studies which done by L1 English experts and EFL experts is that the notion of think in English -- the essential factor for improving EFL learner’s English writing ability has not attracted enough attention and this lead to the second reason for choosing the topic.
In the area of EFL English writing, most of influential researchers are themselves native English speakers. That makes thinking in English a nature process which can be easily ignored by them. Researchers who has English as their mother tones tend to take EFL English writing researches into more technical level, such as different approaches toward writing teaching or they try to exam the roles played by linguistic and metacognitive knowledge in English writing. A great deal has been learnt about writing from studying how native speakers acquire composing skills , the emergence of EFL writing as a sub—discipline has opened new theoretical perspective, research methods and pedagogical strategies. Particularly instructive has been the work on the differences between L1 and EFL writing practices, the significance of cultural background to writing , and the nature of EFL texts. (ken hyland) the current view of the EFL writing has been one of the sub—discipline of the L1 writing. When comes to the differences, cultural background to writing is mainly count. And the nature of EFL texts is apparently from the perspective of production analysis, however in this area the enough attention should be diverted from the productions to the productors, that is the different mind set and the thinking power-- the ability to think in the target language really count. Because the native experts do not preserve the essential difference between L1 and EFL writing, as they treat EFL writing as a sub—discipline, consequently the teaching approaches for EFL English proposed by native experts do not have that much differences from those proposed for L1 writing qualitatively speaking. Over the last 20 years, process and product approaches have dominated much of the teaching of writing that happens in the EFL classroom. In the last ten years, genre approaches have gained adherents (e.g. swales 1990, Tribble 1996, Gee 1997).what is product approach, it sees writing as being primarily about linguistic knowledge, with attention focused on the appropriate use of vocabulary, syntax, and cohesive devices.(Pincas 1982b) this approach has no special content to imply why and how it is going to work for EFL learners in fact this is the way how L1 learners are taught in writing classes. It is impossible for native English speakers to think from the position of an EFL. Consequently the researches and theories proposed by them are not going to be very helpful for solving the problems EFL learners facing.
My third reason for choosing the topic is that EFL researchers are not taking active roles in the area of EFL English writing instructions as they supposed to. Most of EFL researchers have followed the native expert’s ideas, the current researches done by the EFL experts are mostly studies concerning that if a particular native expert’s idea can be applied in EFL expert’s research environment. For example a Chinese researcher after reading the ideas from the native experts then start to use the ideas in some Chinese universities for a research program in order to find out if the ideas are workable in the situation. The problem with this approach is that EFL experts understand native expert’s ideas quite well, however the native experts do not understand the EFL expert’s starting point. Comparatively speaking the EFL experts should know the better way than the native experts do, therefore they should play a more active role in this area.
What is essential in this area, has been perceived by native English speakers as a natural process, and easily missed out. Namely the ability an EFL has, to think in English. It is said before thinking is the underlying force for any languages, without active and creative thinking power, without the ability to think inside the target language itself, any EFL’s English writing production is meaningless, it is just the copy of the patterns and the enumeration of the grammar items. There is no real cohesion in the writing, there isn’t any line for audiences to follow because the writer’s English thoughts are either broken or doesn’t exist at all. Based on the reasons above, I believe that the study of EFL learner’s ability to think in English certainly deserve more attention.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Lesson plan
New horizon book 2 page 50.
Description of class: junior high school students, grade 2.
1. Teach students listening to the gist of the story.
2. Reading strategy: guess the meaning
3. Vocabulary teaching.
4. Grammar teaching: if clause.
5. Speaking practice

1. Ask students to listen to the CD then tell the class what the story is about, they are free to use either L1 or English.
2. Tell students that pay attention to the main idea of the story, do not concentrate on details. Replay the CD.
3. Divide students into groups. Ask them to discuss in their groups what the main idea of the story is.
4. Ask one representative from each group to report the result of the discussion to the class.
5. Give copies of the text book which do not have vocabulary and grammar explanation points on it to the students. Ask them to read the story in the groups and guess as a group the meaning of the new words.
6. Ask students report to the class as a group the result of their guessing.
7. Teacher listen to the students and give advices try to lead the students to the correct guessing. Encourage students to use English as much as they can, this process involve a lot of negotiation of meanings between students and teacher and also among students themselves.
8. Ask students to look at the dictionary for undecided words meaning.
9. Students reread the story then tell the story in their own words to the class, use L1 or English.
10. Ask students the difficulties of understanding the story, lead to grammar teaching point: if clause.
11. Teacher explain the usages of if clause, ask students reconsider the meaning of the sentences that contain if clauses in the story.
12. Ask students to make sentences using if clause.
13. Teacher read the story again ask students to listen and see if they understand the story.
14. Ask students to follow teacher read the story aloud.
15. Teacher retells the story in English then asks students to practice retelling the story in English among their group members.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In my previous essay I talked about the group works in china’s school. In today’s class, my fellow Chinese student shared quite different story about the group works. Then I realize that I could be quite misleading by referring my situation as china’s situation. It is actually easy to understand that things will be different across the regions, sometime even in the same region, same school, the situation could be different because the teacher’s attitudes, beliefs and the approaches. However I made an over generalizing mistake by perceiving my situation as china’s situation. I apologize about the misleading in my previous essay please do not take me wrong, one thing about study aboard is that whenever you got the opportunities to express your personal point of view, you tend to be the representative of your own country unconsciously, and even if you do not, your audiences will probably interpret your personal views as china’s position. In fact only because I come from china does not qualify me to represent the country, because I simply do not know that much.
And I would really like to say thank you for correcting me. Thank you for helping me to grow up. You know encouragement is sweet, however it is actually criticism makes me progress. When I post anything on my blog, I am open to your kind opinions and corrections, please do not be hesitate for helping an eager heart. Thanks a lot once more.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

As a student I participated a lot of group works back in China; however they did not work that well for me. At the time, I simply did not have the motivations, I guess a lot of my fellow students were in the similar conditions with me and teachers too reacted quite negatively from time to time. To Chinese schools anything which is not directly related to the final test is considered waste of the time. Test is the core value of Chinese education system. Imagining such a huge population only has certain amount of universities, and the examination is the only standard for qualifying a candidate, what choice do we have. Questions are why any activities under the circumstance at the first place. A simple answer to the question would be a very sick person does not want anybody to notice his sickness so he pretends to be like I am ok, but that only makes the situation even worse. The policy makers are demanding schools adopting modern teaching methodologies and release students from heavy school burden and decrease the pressure that brought by the examinations. Schools are forced to implement activities to show that “I am ok” I am pretty health ,do not worry about me, as long as I am doing activities with my students they are going to be fine , the exanimations are going to be ok , everybody are happy. I hope by now you understand why group works and activities were not enjoyed by lots of Chinese schools.