Thursday, September 08, 2011

my new job

My new coordination involves coordinating grammar into the curriculum in such a way that students actually use it and learn it as they rise through the levels; this has been a problem even in a curriculum that separates out grammar and teaches it discretely, hoping that this will give us an edge in that regard. It hasn't.

Aha, you might say, maybe separating grammar out was a bad idea. Or even teaching it discretely: that would be pointless, according to Krashen and millions of others who have observed no direct link between discrete grammar teaching and actual acquisition. Sure, they'll learn it for a test for a given class. But they only integrate it at their own pace, when they are ready.

But, before giving up the system of showing them every grammatical form, we thought we should at least try integrating what we teach into the rest of what everyone does. To that end, I am going to call myself the Grammar Awareness Coordinator. A few years back, one of the most famous grammarians in the field coined the term grammaring which was met by derision, at least in this camp (you can find the link if you really try)...if there is such a thing, however, that's what I'm going to be doing.

What about my other jobs?

I'd like to do a little better at the weblog revival in which we actually show the world the best of our work. My students now are doing most of their work on the Newstalk weblog but my core class is set to decorate up the AE2 weblog; meanwhile, I'd like to do a general upkeep, weeding of the garden. Lots of weeds out there, and broken links in particular. Don't advertise history, unless you can produce it. That's my new motto.

Even the main CESL website is mighty thin & hollow, but the university is going to once again upend the whole system and make all old webpages obsolete. They did it also with the logos (this is an ongoing process), so, I have come to the conclusion that if you want to save a logo, or anything good for that matter, quick, take it and put it on your own territory, or at the very least, free territory. This might be unethical in the case of the logos, but actually, I like a number of them, and would actually like to see the history of logos as well as the history of SIUC online production. Unfortunately this is very difficult given their proclivity to upending the status quo and going for "new looks."

Even linguistics removed the old languages that I'd saved but they did it accidentally and readily agreed when I offered to replace them. Once again I'm thinking, I need my own territory. I finally put the job directory and the tesol directory on my own territory, just so I could use them. I might accidentally create my own Tom's ESL playground just so I can have access to stuff I and others always found useful. The ironic thing is, I don't think anyone at SIUC ever really realized whether or if this stuff had any value. Maybe it doesn't, and is just a drain on one's time. I still maintain, though, that what's on the web is what's real. If you're not there, you might as well not have a phone. The world will go on, but what do you have to show for yourself? I'd like to think, we were, at least at one time, on the map.

My new passion is linguistics, but I'm having trouble getting started, for personal reasons (among them: I'm sick...but also, we've had family sick too)...but, this will happen. It's kind of inevitable given that I can hardly keep up with technology in education; it's moved lightning speed beyond me in every direction. I can barely keep up with the moodle in my own classes (I'm going home to do that, today)...but, with linguistics, I have a passion. And I need to get started...what I wrote in 2006 (on language as a self-organized system) is not only unsharable (I can't seem to manage Google docs well enough to make sure you can read it; however, you should be able to find it by going down the template to research & writing and following the links)...but, it's outdated; I have more to say, and want to put it in book form. This is my passion now. A friend asked me recently: what will inspire you? This will. This, and maybe, if I can get my novel finished...

Another year, on its merry way.

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