Tag Archives: Education

20 November 2013

Task Based Language Teaching and the Manitoba Ritz cracker

A mother in Manitoba sent her children to pre-school with a warm lunch of carrots, potatoes, and meatballs. As reported in this newspaper article, the pre-school fined the mother $10 for not having included any grain in the lunch. The pre-school supplemented this lack of grain with Ritz crackers. The teachers at the pre-school were […]

10 October 2013

Language learning drop outs

I had lunch the other day with a college language professor. He told me that the dropout rate for students of Asian languages at his university was very high. Most students who start a first-year program give it up in the first year. Apparently this is not unusual. The attrition rates for online language learning […]

2 October 2013

Hacking language learning

TED or ideas worth spreading represents itself as a source of stimulating and meaningful talks on a great variety of subjects. Some of these talks are worth listening to, but many are not. TED charges a ridiculous amount of money for people to participate in their live get-togethers, $7,500 for the meeting in Vancouver next March. […]

26 August 2013

The power of listening

My grandchildren in Vancouver attend French immersion school. This means that their classes, most of them, are in French. French immersion is very popular amongst English-speaking parents, because it enables their children to go to a school where there are fewer special needs learners. On the positive side, students in French immersion develop good French […]

8 August 2013

Les enfants, apprennent ils mieux les langues que les adultes?

En général oui. Les enfants apprennent mieux. Mais les adultes peuvent apprendre des enfants comment mieux apprendre.

7 August 2013

Speaking in a foreign language

How do we improve our ability to speak in a foreign language? We need to speak often and not worry about how we sound. But first we need to make sure we understand what people are saying. Here are a few tips from my own experience.

3 August 2013

About learning Mandarin

Mandarin is difficult because of the need to learn so many Chinese characters, and the tones. However, there are aspects of Mandarin which make it easier then many European languages. The rewards of learning Mandarin, the process itself, and then the ability to connect with Chinese culture, are enormous. It is well worth the effort.

1 August 2013

Reading a grammar book is like reading a manual

  Reading a grammar book is like reading a manual. Grammar explanations are very hard to understand and absorb until we have enough experience with the language. As a person commented on a video I did a few years ago called “Krashen and Grammar“: “This is consistent with James Paul Gee’s statement that textbooks are […]

30 July 2013

The details of language learning

We are better off focusing our attention on the forest rather than the trees, the big picture rather than the nuts and bolts.

29 July 2013

Language details: How to say “I” in Japanese?

We had a lively discussion at my YouTube channel about how to say “I” in Japanese. In my recent video Learn Japanese an Introduction, I used the following sentence to illustrate how the Japanese language works. 私はカナダ人です.  (I am Canadian) . I pronounced ”私” わたくし rather thanわたし。A  number of people who follow my YouTube channel, all of them non-native speakers, […]