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Often overlooked aspects of lesson obs in EFL. And hamsters
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ricky Gervais is not funny. What I want to know is ARE HAMSTERS EDIBLE ?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's not my favourite comedian, but I found that reasonably amusing nonetheless. Or at least "instructive" (in an Englishdroid 'CELTA without tears' sort of way) LOL.

Hamsters are perfectly edible, and in whole, given a big enough mouth.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But are they eatable?

I have to say that I find A J Hoax much much funnier than Ricky. Maybe it's because Ricky seems contrived, whereas A J is just ... effortless...
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean, look at this clip, for goodness sake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImrzwQC3H4k


Leadership-thinking my @r$e. This lad couldn't lead himself to an original thought in an eternity. Warmed up snake-oil is all he purveys.

But at least his puerile gesturing and unnatural mode of articulation provides comic relief. Presumably, that is what his many, many groupies enjoy.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, all humour, just like all ELT, is ultimately contrived, the question is just to what degree. Gervais's take on an English lesson isn't as laughable as many supposedly serious lessons, that's for sure!
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Sashadroogie



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is true. Just not as comical as I'd wish either...
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on pg 4, Sashadroogie wrote:
For videos of good teaching practice, here is a good place to start:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DtEuf0wNck


"The Practice of English Language Teaching" by Jeremy Harmer. This clip is especially useful for those who confuse straight dictation with dictogloss.

Plenty more on Youtube.


When I first saw this clip (waaay back then on page 4) my reaction was that it was just so much "enhanced" written input dictated to - oops dictoglossed by - students, with nary a word of authentic spoken input to be seen or heard, and about an ultimately quite marginal (indeed, quite nebulous) grammar notion. Now I've actually bothered to take a much closer look at it, I find that Rolf's lesson (certainly, what little we are shown of it in the clip) to my mind raises more questions or potential problems than it answers or solves.

Before we start looking at anything in detail, here is the text that Rolf dictated (from 1:00 to 1:52) to his students, slightly punctuated and annotated according to how it sounded (to my ear), to save anyone having to refer back to the clip too much:

>>>It was Christmas morning, and we ran downstairs to find our wonderful presents hidden under the Christmas tree. My brother immediately started shaking all of the biggest boxes to see what Santa had left us, because we had been sooo good. The boxes, decorated in fantastic wrapping paper, crashed to the floor as he went from box to box. Finally, my annoying brother, laughing and shouting, found his presents and started opening them while I tried to find mine. I opened my present <uh er?> lying on the floor near the tree, and discovered my brand-new, remote-control Ferrari (it was red). My brother picked up the control and threw the car onto the floor so HE could play, breaking the front wheels instantly. This was the THIRD Christmas toy broken by my brother <_> I could not play with at Christmas.<<<

Now for the details.

Although we don't get to see it in the clip, Rolf presumably went on to add a comma to his "expanded" (but in the clip, punctuationally completely scant) boarded sentence thus:

(A) It was Christmas morning and we ran downstairs to find our wonderful presents, which were hidden under the tree

The comma would obviously help make it clear that there weren't (relativized) piles of presents plural needing to be found (otherwise Christmas would start more resembling Easter egg hunts); the students might thus learn something about non-defining relative clauses (although whether there is that much to learn about supposed reduced/unexpanded relative clauses is another matter - read on!). More importantly, it would also help give the to-infinitive an (the?!) "aim, why" that Rolf (at 4:20 to 4:26, and IMHO mistakenly) claimed it had in at least the unexpanded (RRC-less) original sentence.

I say 'more importantly' not because I necessarily like pondering (much less forcing others to ponder!) the meaning of to-infinitives, but simply because that got me thinking of sentences similar to the original unpunctuated, unexpanded sentence. For example:

(B) He ran in to find his two colleagues lashed to a booby-trapped Twister mat

or indeed

(C) He came in to find his precious manuscripts shredded on the floor

or furthermore

(D) He came home to find his wife dead on the sofa

(Yes, I know they're somewhat invented, but then, so were Rolf's. At least my invented sentences don't have non-literal, double-take meanings for the complements (cf. "hidden")).

It would be quite puzzling if not completely nonsensical to start looking for or adding any form of relative clause to the "looked for" items in (B), (C) and (D) - indeed, even just a comma could seem out of place - but there is nonetheless a risk that Rolf's students might be feeling confused by his "explanations", and potentially go on to start producing errors or unnecessary "roadblocks" like that, interrupting what would otherwise be a nice clear simple object + object complement process (in which the overall function is to catch or find someone or something in a particular state, rather than to have necessarily gone looking for them and with the state as a mere, almost disconnected aside to the finding). At the very least, the clip clearly doesn't prioritize the teaching of genuine functions for genuine examples; it adds mere theoretical verbiage.

The tl:dr version to all the above is that Rolf appears to have conflated several meanings of 'find', to ultimately questionable~disfunctional effect. The least he could do is change the verb used ('to look for' would read better in both versions of his sentence). Personally, I'd start over and do an entirely different lesson - one on relative clauses proper, perhaps. Or on object complements without relative clauses, reduced or otherwise. Rolling Eyes

Now, I could of course be wrong in my above analysis, and some will doubtless simply shrug my questions off and carry on with their "business as usual" attitude, not of course that that answers the questions or helps establish the clip beyond doubt as "best practice". Could it possibly be that a fair bit of what passes for quality in ELT and allied teacher training is little more than time-wasting if not hazardous rubbish?

"Bonus" points:

-Looking at the other six sentences in Rolf's text, there are several participles that needn't be confined to postmodifying position, and wouldn't in other positions be analyzable as RRCs. Yet another factor to at least think about.

-Note the disfluency/hesitation at 1:29 to 1:32 (marked by <uh er?> in my annotation), perhaps due to the 'lying' potentially applying to 'I opened' (i.e. adverbially) as much as it does to 'present' (cf. Lying on the floor, I opened my Xmas present near the tree > one of my Xmas presents (we know by now that it's and indeed you are near the tree dammit, especially as prepositions are great at replacing relativizing material!)), and the somewhat forced second reduced relative in a row (<_>) right at the end (I think it would be more natural to aid processing by adding a 'that' in this gap). Ah, the joys (and inherent risks) of invented, deliberately "enhanced" sentences!

-I love how at 4:40 to 4:54 Rolf "allows" that the 'which were hiding' that a student offers is 'OK' (?!). (Maybe, but only if you're Eddie Hitler in the first Bottom Live show, and looking for your misplaced glasses of booze that have somehow become animate and are now "hiding" from you. (See, another "tangent" that would be far more interesting and productive to explore than the supposed aim of Rolf's so-called lesson)). Doubtless the excuse that will again be trotted out is how "There simply isn't the time usually" blah blah blah (yeah, just like there's never any time to do any thinking at all, even in training?!).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Fri May 15, 2015 11:50 am; edited 3 times in total
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I nodded off when the comma bitching started. TL;DR after that...
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you aren't going to address my points? Even though a refusal to do so will make the above example of teacher training, that you were so keen to espouse, seem rather unprincipled?

BTW I didn't get what you meant by "comma b*tching", perhaps you'd care to explain, or do you think that commas aren't needed given the addition of 'which were' that Rolf makes? That is, you find nothing untoward with the following sentence?

We came downstairs to find our presents which were hidden under the tree.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Fluffy. Complaining about a comma, or lack of one, during a dictation, is just being petty. Whatever other points you made are presumably equally so. The refusal is more about not entering into an argument on equal terms with a mangy rodent who lacks credibility. That would only bestow a aura of legitamacy to those desparate criticisms you've scribbled out above. Whereas in reality, they are just gripes, and utterly boring at that.

Poor Fluffy! If your supermethod is so great, why don't you publish a book through Cambridge or Oxford? Maybe provide a training DVD so we can see those rows of students bursting into spontaneous English speech as a result of being lectured at interminably...
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you think that commas are mere optional decoration, and that striving for accurate functional language analysis is just so much "pettiness"? I think it should now be abundantly clear who lacks credibility here. And to enter into this discussion on equal terms, I'm afraid you really are going to have discuss the grammar involved (assuming you even understand it), due to this being a Dictogloss lesson concerning that thing called, y'know, grammar ('Dictogloss is a language teaching technique that is used to teach grammatical structures': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictogloss ). I'm certainly not going to bother to respond much to further contentless replies, other than to say that taking issue with (i.e. discussing) potentially iffy analysis cannot help but suggest alternative methodologies, which need not involve lecturing, far from it in fact (and if you'd actually read my post a bit more closely, you'd have seen where I suggest alternative, eminently communicative exemplars or areas and thus activities. The only people I see actually lecturing here are Rolf, and you).

Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu May 14, 2015 1:02 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Sashadroogie



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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zzzzzzzzzzz
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's it, have a much-needed snooze (you probably need it after exhausting your brain so much, you poor old soul!). Next lesson, reduced relative clauses, right? Just make sure you uncritically use Rolf's very lesson plan and hey presto, you're set, what could possibly go wrong?!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zzzzzzzzzzz
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, look on the bright side, at least you're keeping your post count up!
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