Published on February 28, 2014
The Picture on the Box for Teaching English Judy Thompson CEO Thompson Language Center Home of the English Phonetic Alphabet
TESL Ottawa For professional development at TESL Ottawa in 2011 we started with a lightening fast overview of English. The big picture of English helped teachers plot themselves on a continuum that has spanned over 2,000 years When teachers saw where they were, how they got there and where they wanted to be, something huge shifted. I want you to experience this seismic shift as well. This presentation is an opportunity to reexamine some old thinking, introduce some new ideas and then choose the tools and techniques to best help your literacy and ESL students in the 21st century.
Agenda • Highlights in history and how they live on in your classroom • Walk a mile in your students’ shoes experience learning from their eyes • Identify some advances in education for literacy and ESL/EFL English speakers
English is a Mess blue you few juice through who shoe school Spelling is random and English is idiomatic. Our dirty little secrets.
Highlights • Old English was a combination of German and Norse from 450 AD • 500 years later French was added by William the Conqueror in 1066 and Middle English was born • In 1476 William Caxton destroyed English forever by writing it down with the wrong alphabet and severing the critical sound-symbol bond. That was the start of Modern English that we use and teach But before all this what did printing look like?
Magical Reading and Writing • People who could read and write where considered to have special powers • Writers were called upon for two main reasons: 1) delineate property 2) put curses on others • To this day we call creating messages with symbols spelling • People who can do it still have special power over those who can’t
• Dated circa 1000 AD. Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg • Dated 1384 AD. Ovre fadir þat art in hevenes halwid be þi name; þi revme or kyngdom come to be. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dovn in hevene. • Dated 1611 AD. Ovr father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
• Dated 2003 AD. • dad@hvn, ur spshl. we want wot u want & urth2b like hvn. giv us food & 4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uverz. don't test us! save us! cuz we kno ur boss, ur tuf & ur cool 4 eva! ok?"
You Might Need a Beer • • • It’s clear that English is tricky What is not clear is how teachers compound student failure and suffering There is nothing in your education that helps you help students in the 21 century
Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make • “Sound it out” – blue, through, shoe, you, two.. • “Look it up in the dictionary” – non-phonetic language 4 things in a useful dictionary: 1) what it means 2) how to spell it 3) how it sounds 4) how it is used “Loo ki du pin the dictionary” “Ja wanna cuppa coffee” • ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ – hundreds of exceptions either, height, being, caffeine, their, weird, science… • “Two vowels go walking…”
When Two Vowels Go Walking By Matthew Davis Here’s a bouncy version of the tune by Korean students. For an acoustic guitar version by a young strummer, click here.
How Does Reading Work? According to a reasearcher… Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Rules of Reading Revealed Or rather... According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.
Rules of Reading 1. It doesn’t matter the order of the letters 2. First and last letters must be correct 3. The right letters have to be present We have no idea how English works - not reading, not writing, not speaking And we have never taught any of these skills well. We teach a language that is outdated to students with unidentified needs using tools that don’t work. If you are still here, you are my hero and you deserve an award. None of this is easy to accept at least it is easy to fix. Here are the solutions I promised you:
Finally, Some Reasonable Solutions BRAIN POWER – E-book by Rita Baker The human mind does not read every letter… she explains how the brain learns. It’s an easy read for $8 from Amazon that will change the way you teach and parent. • 80% of our brain cells are INTERNEURONS – whose function is to detect patterns and make meaning • Patterns not details • Rita is a founding member of Radical English www.RadicalEnglish.com which is all pattern solutions • Rita has the 3 triangles that represent all grammar possibilities in her Global Approach (but not in Brain Power)
Literacy Solution The Logic of English by Denise Eide www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ilthoEG39M Also a pattern solution. Because spelling doesn’t make sense, learning to read is difficult. Denise’s rules/approach is a heck of a lot Easier and more effective than pretending spelling is fine and blaming the student for poor results.
ESL Speaking Solutions • Teacher Judy’s Sound Dictionary app solves spelling and pronunciation of North American English for $1.99 • English is Stupid, Students are Not for ESL students and teachers based on the 6 simple rules of conversation that are always true – no exceptions. $35 on www.Amazon.com or $15 PDF from the E-Store www.ThompsonLanguageCenter.com • Grass is Black, Sound Dictionary the first dictionary students can use for spelling, pronunciation, definition and expressions based on Thompson Vowel Chart $35 on www.Amazon.com or $15 PDF from the E-Store • free English Phonetic Alphabet (EPA) download and wiki www.englishphoneticalphabet.pbworks.com
6 Rules of Speaking Basic CLB 1-3 • Spelling is random – English Phonetic Alphabet • English is a stress-based language • All words are not equally important Advanced CLB 4+ • Linking or Words don’t start with vowels • Expressions - abstract • Body Language – 80%
Global English • Jennifer Jenkins, Kings College Features of International English to consider incorporating in ESL/EFL classes • Global English Outline is a free download from www.thompsonlanguagecenter.com • Basic English Word List by Charles Ogden’s is a free download from www.thompsonlanguagecenter.com • We are 30-50 years into the transition to Global English and it is not going backwards. Be aware of the changes happening in education.
Recap • English has been two separate languages since 1476 and that impacts every lesson we teach • Experience learning English from a student’s perspective it wasn’t that much fun • Pattern solutions that solve every aspect of learning/teaching English are popping up all over the world and available to anyone through the internet • English isn’t as difficult as teachers have been making it, we need new tools and techniques.
Teachers for Tomorrow • We looked at the big picture and found hard work and caring deeply for students wasn’t enough when we didn’t have the right basic teaching tools. • We are caught in the changeover from Modern to Global English that began before many of us (you) were born. • Our responsibility to prepare our students for their world is more than we can manage with the education we received. • To have watched this presentation you must be either visionary or unemployed. Either way, I applaud your interest in educating yourself. You will soon be better equipped than your contemporaries to make a real difference for your students.
“I believe classrooms in 10 years will be unrecognizable from what we see today.” Judy Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org or www.EnglishisStupid.com
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