Saturday, February 25, 2017

What I've been doing instead of blogging at OILF

....creating Youtube videos of my SentenceWeaver software (the latest version of the GrammarTrainer):


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favorite comments of '16: Niels Henrik Abel and Anonymouses

On Going on automatic: should word processing supplant penmanship?

Niels Henrik Abel said...
I admit that I am firmly in the handwriting camp. To me it seems much easier to write with pen/pencil and paper than to stare at a blinking cursor, suffering from writer's block. I don't know whether this is a result of the generation in which I was raised, or if it's due to any actual neurological/psychological difference between writing longhand and pecking away at the keyboard. For what it's worth, I am a pretty decent typist, despite having learned late in life (after graduate school), but I suspect that's largely due to my skills as a piano player. Nonetheless, I much prefer writing a rough draft on paper and then typing it using a word processing program, even though some may view the handwritten rough draft as a "waste of time." The way I view it, however, is that it's not as much a waste of time as it would be if I just sat staring at a blank computer screen.
Anonymous said...
I read this article and it made me want to gag. I have seen so much horrific writing because the subject has been completely removed from the curriculum. Whatever is taught now the students only write in print. Nothing riles me more than seeing 12 year olds printing.

Bookish Babe
Anonymous said...
It's true that students do need to know how to type, and at an earlier age. But that doesn't mean they don't need to know how to write in cursive, for the reasons you indicate. But it's strange to me that so many think that keyboarding should actually replace handwriting. We did not propose to eliminate Algebra from secondary school curriculums when we introduced basic Computer Science; we made room for both.
Anonymous said...
5 second google search came up with these articles:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/why-writing-hand-could-make-you-smarter
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/science/whats-lost-as-handwriting-fades.html?_r=0

Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite comments of '15: Rob Chametzky

On News flash: how interesting and curious you are also matters!

Rob Chametzky said...
Those interested in a "third-way": something that isn't either standard IQ-type intelligence (testing) or the 'non-cognitive skills' mentioned in your post should look at the work of Keith Stanovich and his collaborators on (evaluating) "rational thought". References (ones which I have electronic versions of) include

"Education for rational thought", M.Topiak, R.West, K.Stanovich, in Kirby, John R., and Lawson, Michael J., eds. Enhancing the Quality of Learning. West Nyack, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Rationality & the reflective mind,Stanovich, Oxford UP, 2011, especially Chapter 10, "The assessment of rational thought", Stanovich, West, Topiak.

"Intelligence and rationality," Stanovich, West, & Toplak, (2012).
In R. Sternberg and S. B. Kaufman (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of intelligence
(3rd Edition) (pp. 784-826). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

"On the Distinction Between Rationality and Intelligence: Implications for Understanding Individual Differences in Reasoning," Stanovich, in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking & Reasoning, Holyoak & Morrison, eds., 2012.

What Intelligence Tests Miss: The psychology of rational thought, Stanovich, Yale UP, 2009.

Favorite comments of '16: Auntie Ann and momof4

On Social emotional learning for everyone, or special interventions for disruptors:

Auntie Ann said...
One "non-academic" measure...how about personal attractiveness? That's been shown to have a long-term effect on employment, earnings, etc., so why not that?
momof4 said...
Perseverance has been taught/encouraged through appropriately-challenging academic work and assignments requiring appropriately-challenging executive function performance - for multiple decades, until the last few. SEL, as currently defined/implemented, seems to be just another in a long line of edworld fads that take time away from academics and it isn't as if it is doing so well at teaching basic literacy, numeracy and general knowledge that time should be spent elsewhere. I just read that the Chancellor (think that's the title) of DC Public Schools is making it a priority for all second-graders to be taught how to ride a bike - in a school district where many (if not most) kids can't read or add!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Favorite comments of '16: Anonymouses, Aunti Ann, and momof4

On Classroom grammar instruction, fallacy II: teaching grammar rules to native speakers

Anonymous said...
"people who read enough high-quality prose"

That isn't very many people these days.

Auntie Ann said...
Anon: having two teenagers around and seeing what books sell to kids, it's hard for them to even find high-quality prose. Most of the stuff out today is dreck.

Anonymous said...
@Auntie Ann
"Anon: having two teenagers around and seeing what books sell to kids, it's hard for them to even find high-quality prose. Most of the stuff out today is dreck"

Then they should read classics. I was doing that as a kid over 40 years ago: Mark Twain, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne. Stuff that was old even then.

- Anon

momof4 said...
Agree. The classics are the way to go - and I deliberately seek out old versions, from the used sellers linked to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, because the newer ones have been watered down, both in vocab and in sentence structure. Rosemary Sutcliff's historical novels (young adult) and version of classic legends (juvenile) are great. I was reading Agatha Christie early in ES and later discovered Josephine Tey, Patricia Wentworth, Patricia Moyne, Dorothy Sayers and Ellis Peters - all mysteries and far better-written than most of the modern stuff. Good HS readers can easily handle Tom Clancy - many of my 12yo's teammates were reading his books.

Auntie Ann said...
That's good advice on a family level, and at the moment I'm trying to get the 14 year old into classic science fiction. But on a society level, we need to see better quality writing aimed at our kids. They're not going to pass by Mockingjay or Maze Runner just because the writing is bad, when everyone else is reading them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Favorite comments of '16: Anonymouses, Auntie Ann, treehousekeeper, Maya Thiagarajan, Barry Garelick& Jeff Boulier

On Classroom grammar instruction, fallacy I:

Anonymous said...
Are you familiar with David Mulroy's "The Way Against Grammar"?

Mulroy is a now-retired professor of Classics who found the biggest obstacle to teaching undergrads Latin or Greek was that they knew nothing of English grammar.

He's certainly big on knowing parts of speech. He also strongly recommends good old-fashioned sentence diagramming to learn how languages work.

Auntie Ann said...
Foreign language class is where a lot of English grammar ends up being taught. You can't figure out the grammar of another language until you figure out your own.
 
treehousekeeper said...
The people who minimize the importance of grammar are the ones who have no clue about grammar themselves. These are the same people who think that we can teach children to be "little scientists" and "little historians" simply by having them do things that, on the surface, look like the things scientists and historians do. It seems to me that most of the high level education folk are experts at being education folk, which means that they have no expertise in grammar, science, history, or anything else that is actually being taught in schools.

Anonymous said...
In first grade (no k),in the 50s, we were explicitly taught capitalization, punctuation,nouns/pronouns and verbs (action/state-of-being) and components of a sentence before we composed a sentence independently. We were started with copywork from the board, then teacher dictation, before that happened. And, all work was corrected for grammar, as well as content (through HS). We had grammar every year, through HS, with sentence diagramming starting in 7th, and spelling/vocab every week. By the end of 8th grade, almost all kids were able to write correct English - reports,notices, personal and business letters etc. i never remember seeing misspelled or grammatically incorrect notices or signs, as I do today. (Celebrate and festive with us - on a church, signup for spring now - on a CC etc)

Maya Thiagarajan said...
As an English teacher myself, I've thought a lot about grammar instruction. With a few exceptions, most progressive American/International schools don't teach grammar anymore, and if they do, it's taught in such a haphazard way that it's mostly a waste of time. Grammar, I think, is a bit like math. It only works if schools have a systematic and rigorous grammar/writing program with the goal of mastery. Teaching in a haphazard way with the goal of mere exposure is totally futile.
I recently wrote a blog post about this -- Does It Matter if Students Can't Identify a Verb? http://mayathiagarajan.blogspot.sg/2016/03/does-it-matter-if-kids-cant-identify.html
Anonymous said...
Yes! That's what we - anonymous above - had. I don't remember the book/books we used 1-6, but assume we had something by 3rd grade or so. For 7-12, we had the same hardback series; one for each year. Despite my 1-4 teachers not having college degrees (3 Normal School, 1 with 1-2 years of college), they put together a solid curriculum; phonics, grammar, spelling,composition, geography, literature (including classics and good poetry - some as read-alouds- government,history, science and art/music history/appreciation.

Barry Garelick said...
I think the series for 7-12 was Warriner's English Grammar. We had those in high school.


Anonymous said...
I think you are right. I just looked online and the 1958 cover looks familiar.


Anonymous said...
In grade school, in the '50's, we did not have a separate grammar text. Instead, our basal readers (can't remember the publisher) included grammar lessons along with the stories and comprehension exercizes. Spelling was separate for the first few years.

Jeff Boulier said...
My cousin had a (near as I could tell from cursory perusal) grammarless first year Latin textbook. O tempora o mores!

Favorite comments of '16: gasstationwithoutpumps and TerriW

On Engineering the writing requirement:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...
When choices are severely constrained, there may be no good choices, so one makes the least-bad one. Most students will not have as many constraints on college choice as J, so looking for engineering writing courses in college is good advice for most would-be engineers.

Incidentally, it is probably not a matter of letting professors in other disciplines teach writing, but of forcing professors in other disciplines to teach writing. Teaching writing is hard work, and most faculty happily leave it for someone else to do.

TerriW said...
One of the writing programs we use -- IEW -- was originally born out of the African History department at Dalhousie University. Dr. Webster found that his students were coming in unable to turn in a decent paper, so he began to spend the first ten minutes of every class on how to write and slowly developed a fairly sophisticated rubric for research papers. Enrollment in his classes began to rise because word got around that if you wanted to learn how to actually write, you wouldn't take classes from the English department, but instead: African History.