Monthly Archives: March 2009

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The 14 Categories of Language Use

RIvers & Temperly (A Practical Guide to the Teaching of English, OUP, 1978, p. 47) list 14 purposes or categories of language use

  1. establishing and maintaining social relations
  2. expressing one’s reactions
  3. hiding one’s intentions
  4. talking one’s way out of trouble
  5. seeking & giving information
  6. learning or teaching others to do or make something
  7. conversing over the telephone
  8. solving problems
  9. discussing ideas
  10. playing with language
  11. acting out social roles
  12. entertaining others
  13. displaying one’s achievements
  14. sharing leisure activities

The 6 Factors that Reduce Cognitive Decline in Old Age and the 4 Factors that Predict Earlier-than-average Decline

Researchers have identified 6 risk factors that everyone should be aware of. The following variables reduce the risk of cognitive decline in old age according to Merriam, Gafarella & Baumgartner (2007, Learning in Adulthood, p. 371)

  1. absence of cardiovuscular and other chronic diseases
  2. living in favorable environmental circumstances
  3. substantial involvement in activities
  4. maintenance of high levels of perceptual processing speed into old age
  5. being married to a spouse of high cognitive status
  6. rating one’s self as satisfied with one’s life

Schaie et al (1994, Perceived Intellectual Performance Change over Seven Years. Journal of gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 49(3), 103-118) cited by Merriam, Gafarella & Baumgartner (2007, Learning in Adulthood, p. 371) identified 4 factors that predict earlier-than-average cognitive decline

  1. significant decrease in being flexible in one’s approach to life
  2. low educational attainment
  3. being male
  4. a low satisfaction with life success

It is certainly worth emphasizing that it clearly is about one’s beliefs and character traits about half of the time. Cherishing principles, being stubborn and pessimistic, failing to look on the bright side all seem to contribute to premature cognitive decline.

A Multimedia Resource for Language Learning

I have been racking my brains over the past few weeks in vain. I am incapable of thinking of a proper topic myself and that prevents me from starting work on the assignment which reads as follows

This assignment consists of two interrelated parts:

A multimedia resource for language learning for classroom or self-access use.

An accompanying rationale.

A multimedia resource

You should create a working piece of courseware that reflects the aims, objectives and learning outcomes outlined in your rationale and reflects good practice in both TESOL and the use of multimedia in language learning. This may be produced using any web authoring tool (although the expectation is that you use the WordPress CMS), and will include links to other media (audio or video, for example) and applications such as Hot Potatoes.

The resource does not need to be long or complex. It should, however, be coherent and it must work. For example, you could exploit a piece of listening or reading material with a relevant task or sequence of tasks providing practice on a specific grammar point. It can also be a piece of teacher education material. It may represent part of a larger package, but it should not simply consist of a sequence of tasks produced using authoring software. This multimedia resource should clearly reflect the issues discussed in the rationale.

So far a number of ideas have been put forward by some of my friends and acquaintances, but I can’t make up my mind.  I have contemplated

  • creating a set of interactive grammar quizzes to practise a particular language point (I mean there are thousands of interactive quizzes out there already, I have to create something really unusual)
  • designing a multimedia resource for very young learners, e.g. a picture dictionary with tasks (this one sounds OK-ish, I just need to get myself a proper digicam and learn photography – easier said than done. Plus where should I get the audio? I am not a professional anchor after all. )
  • devising a few topic-based units of sequenced tasks for a certain level or exam purposes (well, that’s sort of stretching and there are copyright issues as usual. Just can’t think of a place to get all those texts, pics and audio for free. So thats’ all about becoming a digital coursebook writer at the end of the day and I find it daunting, because this is LOADS of unpaid work)

I wish I could paint and draw, sing and act. I wish I were a prolific writer and could write engrossing stories and articles exceptionally well.