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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Julian

Message: 8494 From: Julian Bamford Received: Do Apr 28, 2005 3:52
Subject: EfromZ: 2000 words
Well, Dennis, I guess he wants to study English, not be apprenticed into it. Last night I was remembering your account of Lesson 1 and thinking your drilling of the hours and the time sounded a bit dry (unless it's made into a game), but for Sergei, it might have been the high point--the least 'different'--so far. Scott's not entirely tongue in cheek also chimed in with my thoughts. On the way to school today, I'd been pondering--what our students need is not more English study; they need to use the English they already know. For Japan is a lab where memorizing definitions is a high art (as a preparation for high stakes examinations, and to learn how to read English via translation into the native language). And almost all students who've gone through that have no experience or idea about actually using English as a language. Students come to my office saying they need or want to "speak English" and think this means they need to study more English. I've sort of bought into that, but the first step for most of them ought to be flexing their English muscles--because they do know a lot, and practice seems to unlock the door for most of them (metaphors, metaphors). After some of that, some study maybe. I'm going to do more to make my campus into a rip-roaring environment that encourages people to use and enjoy English. Maybe you can teach Sergei in the conventional way with a textbook, Dennis. And balance that with some time actually using what you learn--which is another way of saying recycling it--to give him the best chance of learning it. Julian BTW, Scott, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English has had the 2000-word defining vocabulary in the back for years. But maybe you wanted 3000.

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