Friday, February 17, 2012

Fun: English is Hilarious / Brilliant

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inspiring Poem: If I Had A Life To Live Again by Erma Bombeck

Dear Readers,

Erma Bombeck is a great, down-to-earth poet who is able to express life in a commonsense, practical and humourous manner.

She is one of the much-loved American poet who had sadly passed away.

Here's a beautiful, read aloud poem for our reflection and enjoyment.

We could share with fellow educators and students about what's important and what's essential in life.

Do not let what's urgent take away what's important in lfe!

Rodney Tan

If I had my life to live again

by Erma Bombeck (Written after she found out she was dying from cancer.)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television-and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's.". More "I'm sorry's" ...But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who Do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

Life is too short to let it pass you by. We only have one shot at this and then it's gone. I hope you all have a blessed day.

In memory of Erma Bombeck who lost her fight with cancer.

News: Professor Dispels Myths Around Teaching English (TEFL)

Professor dispels myths around teaching English

Using several methods simultaneously can be counterproductive for students learning it as a foreign language, research shows

  • By Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 February 5, 2012

Image Credit: Courtesy: Zayed University

Dr Jase Mousa Inaty, assistant professor of Educational Psychology at Zayed University (ZU), has been studying the challenges of teaching English as a second languge to native Arabic speakers. She recently wrote a book ‘The Impact of Spoken English on Learning English as a Foreign Language’.

Globalisation and the need to interact with various cultures means people have to learn how to communicate in different languages these days.

However, becoming proficient in a second language is a challenge that requires commitment and a lot of practice and not everyone learns at the same speed and through the same process.

Dr Jase Mousa Inaty, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at Zayed University (ZU), has been studying this problem here in the UAE. Her recent study was focused on native speakers of Arabic, mainly ZU students, who were in the process of learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

Her research has led to the publishing of a book titled The Impact of Spoken English on Learning English as a Foreign Language.

Dr Inaty found that learning was not the same for everyone in the study. Some were better learners than others and some learned one skill better than another. The level of proficiency was dependent on the person's ability to comprehend, retain and use information.

"Teaching methods vary but, in general, we learn using one or a combination of these major skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading."

However, using more than one mode can be detrimental to learning, says Dr Inaty. According to her research, the human brain is limited in its capacity to process information, and learners, whether Emirati or otherwise, have the same human cognitive architecture with a limited working memory and an unlimited long-term memory.

"The human cognitive architecture indicates a working memory that is limited in both capacity and duration. When EFL materials are presented in ways that exceed working memory capacity, the learning may be hindered. These hindrances may come from a split-attention effect or even more so a redundancy effect, which was the case in my research."

An area of her studies focused on students' learning ability when teaching listening skills using a traditional method of presenting written material simultaneously with auditory material.

"The thinking is that our students would benefit more since they are both listening and reading the materials at the same time. My research has shown that at least under some circumstances, students will learn best when only one mode of learning [eg reading only] is presented," she said.

Her research shows that teachers should recognise pupils' abilities and cautions them not to overload their students with material.

"The condition is that when a vast amount of material or information is being presented simultaneously, it should not contain identical information. Otherwise, the learner is wasting his/her working memory space on two things that contain identical information — which in turn may not enhance comprehension," she said.

‘Cognitive underload'

"Her studies of Emirati students show that the majority of learners are not using most of that working memory space that is available to them. She calls it "cognitive underload".

A possible cause is that students are not being provided with material rich enough to maintain their interest in learning.

"We need to provide stimulating and rich learning experiences for our human cognitive architecture to reach its potential and flourish. Teachers can do this by selecting and designing materials that are motivating, interesting and relevant to students," she concluded.