general topics (gen)
These are discussions of a general nature, of topics that don't fit neatly into any particular module. Threads are organized in the following categories & sub-categories:
- Discussion list discussion
- Doing assignments
- Web-based research resources
- General issues
Information about the discussion list Aston has for EASG alumni, and a bit of confusion over it is cleared up. Includes a definitive statement from Sue Garton.
Opinions about the impact the discussion list has had on our program. In addition, the term "lurkers" is discussed.
A discussion from January 2000 that paved the way for current discussion list protocol. In addition, the topic of low DL usage was addressed.
Introduction & orientation to the MSc discussion list & archive website.
Another detailed discussion about the presence of tutors on the DL, including comments from former tutors Steve Mann and Keith Richards.
A detailed look at why our discussion list is not used more often, including commentary about the role of tutors.
A regular DL participant wonders if "academic" contributions to the list are intimidating.
A response to a questionnaire about the effectiveness of the DL.
Why is the discussion list not often used? How could it be improved?
Another look into the root causes of low DL usage.
An early discussion about the idea for creating this website. Several ideas generated from this exchange later became implemented into the final design and structure.
The public announcement of this site, and the subsequent comments from our community. Many of the ideas and suggestions from this discussion have been implemented into the sites current design and structure.
The annoucement of the completion of a corpus based on the Aston discussion list, a project that was a precursor to this archive.
Answers to a questionnaire put out by Sue Wharton regarding the usefulness of the assignment criteria grids found in the study companion.
Clarification about assignment deadlines & grading, including commentary from former tutor Keith Richards.
Are you suffering from assignment envy? Here's how to tell if you are and what to do about it.
Clarification about how many words an assignment can have, including commentary from tutor Sue Wharton.
Former tutor Steve Mann provides an answer to what may an may not be excluded from assignment wordcounts.
What can you do if you're suffering from Over-extended Post-Assignment Relaxation Period syndrome (OPARP)? Also discussion about the optimal number of modules to take at any given time.
A discussion about the advantages & disadvantages of posting assignments on the Internet.
Questions and discussion about the practice of submitting assignment proposals to tutors. Includes commentary from former tutor Steve Mann.
Some thoughts on the process of getting an assignment ready for publication.
How do you cite a reference for a quote you take from an article written by another author? In addition, how do you cite a reference to your own class notes?
Help on how to cite a reference when you don't know the author or publish date.
What are some guidelines for citing sources in foreign languages?
How to cite online concordances in APA format.
How do you cite quotes from a book that is a collection of previous published papers? Includes commentary from former tutor Steve Mann.
A link to a website containing a conpendium of websites dedicated to participatory action research.
Introduction and orientation to David Anderson's website, a place that "tells you how to get up and running quickly on the MSc without swamping you with superfluous details." Also includes a message from David detailing changes made to the site.
A link to the BBC Radio4 website that offers the chance to download live broadcast material for use in classes and for research.
A modest collection of websites favored among CPs for teaching English.
A link to the Centre for Discourse Intonation Studies, a site devoted to David Brazil's theory of intonation. It contains some very useful examples of intonation patterns you can listen to.
A link to an excellent online book for distances learners that contains a conpendium of useful information and web-based resources.
A link to the British Council's website on military English.
A link to Paul Raper's private ftp site that "has a few little bits and bobs which you might find useful." A link to his main Aston-related resources page is also included.
Links to two extremely useful websites: the Open Directory Project, and the Science Direct Web Research Guide.
An explanation of what the ERIC database has to offer, plus some other "computery" resources.
Advice for gaining access to online journals through the use of an "Athens" password.
Advice for how to access the journal "Applied Linguistics" online via Athens.
Some questions and answers about bilingual dictionaries, including links and commentary from tutor Ramesh Krishnamurthy.
Here's a link and some screenshots of the "ESP Journal," an online magazine devoted to teaching English for Special Purposes.
Links to two major European journals: EERJ (European Educational Research Journal) & EERA (European Educational Research Association).
Some advice from tutor Sue Garton on why and what to do if you are not able to access a particular article with your Athens password.
References for several articles on the topic of 'needs analysis'.
A link to a free online journal called "Reading in a Foreign Language."
Information on how CPs can access TESOL Quarterly and TESOL Journal at the Aston library website.
Online access information for this Japan-based English education journal.
Advice on how to conduct questionnaires via email.
Insights and advice for creating successful questionnaires. The thread ends with an extensive teacher survey on procedural instructions in the classroom.
Links and advice for easily conducting questionnaires and surveys via the Internet.
A positive review of Filemaker Pro and suggestions for applying it to our studies.
A link to Google's service that allows you to search for academic articles available on the net.
Interested in creating a good questionnaire or survey? Check out this excellent book by Dornyei.
Links to websites that can help you create better surveys & questionnaires.
Ahh... how do you log into Blackboard again?
Links to websites containing ESP conference calendar information.
Paul Meara of the University of Wales takes a hatchet job to action research, calling it "thoroughly pernicious, especially at Masters level." Will this attack go unanswered?
Is it ok for linguists to study their own discourse? In addition, "Becker's Criterion" is defined.
Has anyone noticed that research done by "experts" seems to be... perfect? Why is this? Includes commentary from former tutor Steve Mann.
Views are exchanged about issues related to CLIL, the "Content & Language Integrated Learning" approach.
Which degree title is most appropriate for you?
Can knowledge be evaluated dispassionately in research or in the classroom?
A look into the prevalence of financial terms & metaphors in TESOL. Featuring analysis by Keith Richards.
Some of the struggles that CPs living and working in Japan face when thinking about their future employment prospects.
Is the term "pardon" and example of middleclass hypercorrection? What IS hypercorrection?
A quote from Leo van Lier stimulates discussion on the importance of collaboration & networking amongst colleagues.
What book outside of our field has influenced your work or study?
An excerpt from former tutor Keith Richard's book that clarifies important philosophical positions pertaining to our field.
This conversation took place at a time when CPs were all free to work at their own pace, with no lock-step courses available. The pros & cons of this arrangement were discussed, and a number of ideas proposed, providing insight into how our current program evolved.
In this branch of the "Language Acquisition Young vs. Old" thread, CPs discuss how living in a country where English is not the main language diminishes their native speaking ability.
Opinions about teaching non-standard English in order to give students the language they need. Also, how can "correctness" be defined?
We are being taught to learn the discourse of the TESOL community, but is that what we want? Includes a "quiz" about deciphering the meanings of quotes made by several authors.
An Aston tutor is about to visit your region! What are some ways to get the maximum benefit from these workshops? Includes results from a CP's survey on the effectiveness of one such visit.
CPs commiserate about a sense of isolation they feel in their workplaces and ponder what to do about it. The issue of standards for our profession is also addressed. Includes commentary from former tutor Steve Mann.
What are the problems with introspective data? Includes commentary by tutor Ramesh Krishnamurthy.
A request for a module based on the topic of language and culture.
Does action research matter to anyone else but the person doing it?
Commentary and feedback about the experience of attending summer school at Aston (July 2005). Includes a contribution by tutor Sue Garton.
Is technology a threat to the idea of a university? A short submitted review of the article by Alisdair MacIntyre ("A Communitarian Critique of the Technological University"), where the author confronts this question.
A link and first part of an article by Henry Widdowson entitled, "TESOL: Art & Craft."
Presenting at conferences is part of what we do, but that doesn't make it an easy experience. CPs offer advice to a first time presenter.
Does the term "ESP" mean anything at all?
Regarding copyright issues, what are the ethical/legal details we need to consider when using published materials in our classrooms?
A news report regarding the European Commission's decision to adopt English (and not German) as the official language of the EU.
If we examine the paradoxes of English, we find that Quicksand takes you down slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig...
Discussion about Swan & Walkers, "The Use of Sensory Deprivation in foreign language teaching," and the place and practice of parody in academic research. Links to other parodic articles and books are provided.
"War on Terrorism" satire from John Cleese, offered as a possible classroom activity and discussion generator.
A quiz gauging intelligence level. If you pass, you are qualified to be a "professional."
A link to an article at BBC News about the modern slang young people use these days. Contains an excerpt from the article.
For all the non-Brits on the program, a primer on this ancient game.
How can you intimate this to your most intimate friend? A humorous list of reasons why English is a hard language to master.