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20 December 2013

Writing Survey Questions

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For teachers of English for Academic Purposes, surveys are par for the course, especially in speaking and listening classes. They're great for many reasons; they not only promote critical thinking, students must also talk to people outside of the classroom, synthesize information, analyze results, present results, create charts/tables, etc. I use them in all classes (not just speaking and listening), especially informal surveys. However, when students are responsible for formal surveys for formal presentations, it's necessary to teach them how to prepare and execute them appropriately.

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The first step when using surveys in class to to teach how to write survey questions. This is a very tricky step for all students, no matter their language level. Fortunately, is here to help. Here Patricia Alejandra Lastiri provides a series of four lessons to teach survey questions writing. She provides four 60-minute lessons along with wonderful printouts and websites. The original lesson is for grades 9-12, but it can be easily adapted for non-native English speakers and ESL classrooms. Included in the link is a survey evaluation form, sample questions and guidelines,  a great rubric (for participation, not just for surveys), and much more. You really should check it out for yourself to see what else can be adopted or adapted.

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P.S. Here's the link:

16 December 2013

Do you love English?

Nominate your favourite blog and website about the English language 2013

If you love English, vote in the Macmillan Dictionary Love English Awards for the best websites and blogs about English. You can also check out last year's winners, and those from 2011. 

A few highlights from the past few years: printables, wordsmith, worldwidewords, filmenglish, and closeyourtextbooks. I can't wait to try some of these ideas out in my classroom next semester. 

And of course, my all time favorite: Free Rice, which helps people learn vocabulary and gives rice to people who are hungry. 

15 December 2013

The Trickiest Word in English: Quite Tricky!

Vicki Hollett (of Learning to Speak 'Merican) wrote a great blog post for the Macmillian Dictionary blog about the trickiest word in English. In it she writes about a quite tricky English word: quite

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The meaning of quite in American and British Englishes has different meanings. In American English the meaning is rather (quite?) positive, and in British English, it is less than positive:

If your American boss says your work is quite good, should you be pleased or a little concerned? In British English quite good only means pretty good or fairly good, but in American English it’s much more positive. Quite good means very good, so you can give yourself a pat on the back.

As I am a native American English speaker, I consider quite to be positive. If you're an English language learner, how did you learn the meaning of quite? If you're a teacher, how do you teach it? With both meanings? Or just for the country in which you're teaching? What if you teach EFL?

"All art is quite useless" -Oscar Wilde

P.S. Here's the link: