Thursday, January 21, 2010

Game Shows: Would You Be on TV?

TV is one form of entertainment most people watch to a certain degree, and you can find just about any kind of program on the air these days. One type of popular program is the game show. In many cases, people try to win prizes by participating in some form of game or challenge. One popular show that appeared on and off US TV was the Dating Game in which a woman (or man) would ask a series or questions to three men whom she could not see, and then select one to go out on a date, the expenses for which were paid by the show.

Now, if you had the opportunity be a contestant on such a TV game show, would you do it? Why or why not?

Share your thoughts on this or other TV game shows.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avoiding Stereotypes in Your Writing

One of the challenges/joys of teaching writing to ESL students (or any student) is helping them avoid overgeneralizations in their writing. For example, students often write in absolutes:

- "All Americans own guns."
- "Americans never take off their shoes before entering the house."
- "The homeless are that way because they use drugs."

One important techique for students to learn is to learn how to "qualify" or limit their statements, so they represent more accurate or logical reasoning. You can qualify your statements by related the comments to your own personal experience, use adverbs of frequency to avoid absolutes e.g., (often, generally, sometimes), or use other phrases such as "in some cases" or "depending on the circumstances."

Some revised sentences might look like this:

- "Some people in the United States own guns."
- "In my family, we take off our shoes when we enter the house in the United States, but this isn't always the case in every family. It often depends on the family customs."
- There are a number of reasons why people might be homeless, so we can't say that all or almost all people are in that situation because of drugs. There are many factors that lead to this situatio."

Now, if people don't qualify their statements, they either run the risk of offending their audience or just sounding rather swallow in their thought.

So, are there generalizations or stereotypes about your culture or social topics that people need to learn qualify to so they speak or write logically?

Share your ideas.


Monday, January 11, 2010

College Textbooks

One of the things that bothers me most is the cost of college textbooks these days. Specifically, I can't understand it when textbook authors and publishers, rather than reusing the same book for a number of semesters, print a "new edition" that tries to force students to buy a new book, when in fact, the book is almost the same. You can often see this when the book is now it is 21st edition!

This is unfair to students, and it is just one more way that businesses make money off students. A lucrative business model that does little to remove the financial weight from college expenses.

So, what do you think students can do to same money on books?

Share your ideas.