Linguistics in general

October 2013

For lecture notes etc on Psycholinguistics go to this page.

Miscellaneous topics

It is difficult to decide what is ESP and what is broader linguistics. But here you will find some articles of a general linguistics or TEFL nature.

1. Double correction position paper - and comments on how to improve single-correction. The paper carefully examines sources of error in marking, with corresponding ways to reduce them. There are several different types of ‘Double Correction’ and these are described and evaluated. At the very least, choices should be made conscious of the factors involved.

                           File: double-correction.pdf

2. The role of the teacher, and classroom management

   Most of my students will end up teaching TEFL to teenagers at some point. Therefore this double lecture is popular. After the introduction, there is a long list of characteristics of a good teacher, and another list concerning tips for classroom management. These lists are my handouts in class. Afterwards there is a commentary on these points, as if I were lecturing, though usually I lecture this from memory, and follow the leads of the class discussions.

    Frequently I find that the ideas are NOT accepted. I challenge my students to be willing to think and evaluate for themselves, to make their own mind up, but to give me a fair hearing first. The most common disagreement is that while it might work in Britain it would not work here. Frequently I find it is those in the class with teaching experience who are most likely to agree with me.

    As a taster: have you ever tried to teach classes who will never stop talking? Here I present an easy workable solution.

                      File: classroom-management.pdf

3. Testing the easy way. Setting and marking examinations with a special focus on essays. Seminar notes    

    These notes focus on marking academic essays. There is a clear discussion of avoiding false successes and false failures. The notes argue for a mark scheme which leads to a wide spread of marks. When teachers use a small range of marks, then the influence of chance is magnified. Analytic versus impression marking is discussed, linked with the use of one or two markers.

                      File: writingexaminations.pdf

4. Europe and the Common European Framework. Lecture notes

    This is a simple introduction to the CEFR. The context of plurlingualism is explained and compared with balanced bilingualism. There are notes summarising various authors.

                     File: commoneuropeanframework.pdf

5. The use of the Mother Tongue in language teaching

  These are my discussion notes and commentary on a very interesting article that students are asked to read first. Students are stretched to understand different viewpoints and to notice what the article does not cover. The question I encourage is when should the Mother Tongue be used, and if so, how to do so in a way which best promotes learning.

                  File: mother-tongue.pdf

6. Principles of ESP course design

    When asked to write an ESP course, which principles will guide your decisions? Here are mine.

    1. Content difficulty should equal normal subject courses

    2. Content should lead language

    3. Exercises as well as the material should be authentic

    4. Massive exposure to content and language

    5. Authentically long texts

    6. Exploit communication gaps

    7. Draw ideas from content teachers

    8. Elaborate, but never simplify

    9. Train students to handle difficult texts

   10. Consider using translation as a scaffold for weaker students

   11. Speed up learning by using data from language comparisons

   12. Focus on extracting meaningful information - not on language points

   13. Write three syllabuses

        a.   Content syllabus - related to the ways the subject teachers

             divide up their speciality

        b.   Language syllabus

        c.   Learning/skills syllabus

   14. Ideally another subject should be taught in English. As a minimum,

        subject courses should set readings in English.

                       File: coursedesign.pdf