Monday, March 26, 2012

not going to Philly, but plowing forward anyway

The TESOL world leaves this week for Philadelphia, and I'm a bit sorry about that, that due to a personal schedule conflict I'm staying home this year, and minding the home fires. It's ok; I needed a rest, and my topic, grammar technology, requires some reflection at this point.

That's because several things have altered my view. First, it has now been a few years since I taught upper-level writing, and I see the world now from the view that is far more down in the trenches, with the lower people coming up. They, for the most part, are by vast majority highly connected, highly technological, yet way behind in grammar, as far behind in grammar as they are ahead in listening. It's quite interesting to watch what appears to be very good oral fluency, very poor grammatical understanding.

And why is that? I've taken to believing that technology's most insidious feature is its undermining of one's confidence; that alone does more harm than the "cupertinos" (ironically named for the home of Apple in California) or their grammatical counterparts, the things that lead us astray when we try to understand someone's true meaning; the hiding, or systematic altering, of what one intended to say.

Now how to get at this: write about it, learn about other teachers' point of view, etc.; that's what I'd like to know. I'm at a loss as to where to go with my exploration. How can I prove that I know what I think I'm seeing? A new survey might help; more about that later. And, I may have a guest blogger on here; stay tuned.

I've taken to saying, if you see any Quakers out there in Philadelphia, tell them Tom said hello. I'm not sure if they're the ones with the funny hats, or not. Please, no oatmeal jokes.

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