Educators are Exhausted

Tweet The educators I know are exhausted. I spoke yesterday with a woman who facilitates the transition of disabled children into and out of classrooms, trains teachers to deal with problems students, provides class plans and individual reports on students, running from classroom to classroom, in more than one school, every day. When a student […]

Trust your students

Tweet As a professor of freshman writing, I teach students who are just out of high school. Some students are satisfied with their former high schools, but most complain bitterly. The most frequent complaint is about sitting around doing nothing, not that the subject matter is too difficult. Why are teachers so afraid to challenge […]

How to Write Descriptions (continued)

Tweet A previous post shared the first part of a class on writing descriptions. The first exercise was writing a description of a classmate. This is the second part of that class. Exercise: The class was asked to close their eyes, and I turned off the lights. They then were asked to pull up their very […]

How to Write Descriptions

Tweet For the next essay “A Visit to Another Culture,” my students must physically place themselves in a new culture — it can be a new type of restaurant, a church service of another religion, dinner in the home of an immigrant friend, a visit to a Japanese supermarket, and so on. In the several […]

Dictionary Day

Tweet Noah Webster’s birthday is October 16th, now known to a fraction of the population as “Dictionary Day.” It’s a good day to think about words. We have just witnessed the birth of a new word, twerk – a reminder that our vocabulary is ever evolving. IDennis Baron’s always interesting blog The Web of Language tells of a […]

German and English

Tweet German-speaking friends are visiting us. Their vocabularies, cultural knowledge, and structural command of English are impressive, and we speak together fluently. This afternoon we worked on the little bit of accent that remains in my friend’s English speech.  It involves voicing the “g” of “German” or of “joy,” and getting used to pronouncing “th.” […]

Paper Literacy vs. Digital Communication

Tweet My aunt keeps everything. Her house had children’s toys and underwear from 120 years ago. I sold her car yesterday, and had to rummage through all the storage spaces to be sure I had gotten everything. I found this rumpled artifact. It instructs the driver to put this in the front or back window […]

Rapping in Sami

Tweet Sami is a language spoken by about 20,000 people around the Arctic Circle.  Santa Claus would bark out his orders to his reindeer in Sami. Such languages are fast disappearing, and only local energy and devotion can keep them alive, supported by enlightened language policies. Why it is in our interest to keep these […]

Problems with multilingualism

Tweet Karina is from Prague and spoke Czech in her family growing up. She attended high school in Frankfurt and speaks accent-free German. She now lives in Vienna and she and her husband are raising their children bilingual – Czech and German.  She spent her junior high school year in Maine and speaks almost perfect […]

Digital Slaves – The Discipline of Money

Tweet I’m reading a book, Who Owns the Future?, by the “father of virtual reality,” Jeron Lanier. His starting point is in the “prelude.” “…digital networking ought to promote a two-way transaction, in which you benefit, concretely, with real money….  I want digital networking to cause more value from people to be on the books, […]