Free Tips To Help You If You Need It.

Hi there. I am going to make this a Sticky Post (this means, a post that will always remain on the front page of the blog).

Should you need some help or advice on :

– improving your writing skills

-helping children with reading

– improving English for Academic Purposes

– spelling

– pronunciation

– public speaking

– presentation skills

– Business English

– editing and clarity

-how to handle certain problems faced in the teaching of English either for individuals, groups or the classroom

– how to more effectively apply the use of English in your life

– improving your communication skills

– improving self-confidence

– whether it is even necessary to improve your English

or any other general help with regards to English – always feel free to leave a comment or email me at

englishforasians@gmail.com

While I do not guarantee (as no one faithfully can, because teaching and learning is more of an Art than a Science) 100% effectiveness when taking my advice (because I cannot accurately assess your situation and you may miss out on providing me with information that would have helped inform me better) I hope that it might be my small way of serving the needs of learners out there.

I’d like to add that I don’t give “technical advice” such as how to score higher or to explain terminologies or grammar rules because all this information is widely available on other sites.

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Markets are Conversations.

This is a great book. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re either a business or an advocacy group trying to engage people to create the change you want to see in this world – try it.

When one person talks and the rest of us listen, either attentively or with reticence, it’s called a Lecture. When that lecture insists on not only presenting facts and ideas but claims its points to be the absolute truth, it’s a sermon. You get my point.

What inspired me to write this post comes from my inexperienced experience observing how people who want to change education can or cannot use social media for their means and ends. I want to share some observations which might be useful to people who are new to this.

Continue reading “Markets are Conversations.”

What a Parent Who Used To Be a Teacher Really Want to Say to Parents And Teachers.

I had a request from ********* to post the comments I had written on a fb comments thread on a CNN article What Teachers Really Want To Tell Parents.

In between the time it took for me to post this another article responding to it appeared here

The original responses I made on my fb comments thread on Sept 10 to the CNN article : What Teachers Really Want To Tell Parents  (as is) is in blue.  My expanded comments (for context) if necessary will be in Italics. 

I like the first line :

“I just cant deal with parents anymore; they’re killing us.”  

– Send the kids back to the parents. 😀  

Why don’t they? A parent is almost as qualified if not better qualified to teach their own children than a school teacher is – for many, many reasons outside the context of this article. Don’t believe me? Think about it logically : Both teachers and parents went through the same K-12 education. All things being equal they studied the same content. Unless you’re trying to tell me for 12 years of their education their teachers had pre-selected an elite bunch of students to teach better to knowing one day this elite bunch will become the next generation of teachers. – I doubt it!

Continue reading “What a Parent Who Used To Be a Teacher Really Want to Say to Parents And Teachers.”

Slowing the Paper Chase.

There are many things I know squat about. Like Romantic Love. Like Goddess Housekeeping. Like how to stay married beyond the 7-year itch. Like how to travel on a shoestring budget.  Or how to make an omelet in a ziplock bag while travelling by van without a stove. Or simply color-coordinating my clothes. (My principle for getting dressed is : (1) Is it clean? (2) Does it fit? (3) The more colors the better.)

Let’s cut to the chase. This is a post that gives me one of those, “I Told You So” moments.

I don’t usually read Malaysia MSM (mainstream media) but today I decided to buy the papers. On page 35 of the Nation section of The Star I saw an article that got me excited to post about : Slowing the Paper Chase.

The article begins with :

IN THE face of a changed labour market, Singapore may have decided to keep the local university population from increasing beyond current levels. The more cautious approach to higher education emerged from private talks that a senior education ministry official had with a US diplomat several years ago, according to WikiLeaks.

Key words : several years ago.

Continue reading “Slowing the Paper Chase.”

The reason I was never cut out for English Literature.

Two roads diverged in an open wood.

I looked down one as far as I could

and said, “Fuck it, no way”.

and looked down the other as just as fair

and said, “What the heck. If I don’t know where I’m going I’ll be glad to end up anywhere.”

 

But seriously –  two roads diverged in an open wood

and I was never in doubt about the one I eventually took

and once I chose I never bothered to look

back on the decisions I’ve made and stood

by and held on with a wing and a prayer.

 

I had only one desire

that I would die before my fire

why do so many walk on the black and trodden

beaten and misshapened path of Conformity?

How can people die a little each day

instead of die to themselves everyday and be rebirthed with a new zest for living?

 

Two paths diverged in an open wood and it is so obvious which one I took.

I now smack with an overdose of self-assuredness tempting you to hit me with a book!

I feel now as though I’ve never been in doubt;

about the path I’ve chosen and how things have turned out.

 

Two roads diverged in an open wood

Forget conformity and its rules of play

I took the one less travelled

And that, my friend, has made all the effing difference today.

Some progress last year.

You know, this past couple of months I’ve been trying to tell these kids that the world is suddenly speeding up and there’s just not much time to waste pretending that 5 years from now, the world is going to look the same like it was 5 years ago. I’ve been trying to show them how to move beyond basic use of computer and look at the potential in 21st Century learning.It’s not all in vain. A couple of students went to buy laptops. I’m thinking 1 or 2 more will be getting a laptop by the end of the year.

Continue reading “Some progress last year.”

When parents and educators lack insight and foresight.

As both an educator and a parent, I can say this : When parents and teachers screw up, it’s the children who grow up and pay the price in the future.

Give me one example of a person who says, “I am so lucky to have great, loving, supportive, strong and intelligent parents and teachers” but is not successful. You won’t be able to. But among your friends who are fearful and frustrated in life, you’re going to be able to identify those who feel both their parents’ life and their education had failed them.

Continue reading “When parents and educators lack insight and foresight.”

Birth of a New Civilization through parenting and education.

It seems so odd to folks like me on the other side of this divide to see parents and educators who are content in their disgruntlement towards 20th Century schooling without being able to connect the past to the present and the direction the present is taking us towards a Future our children will have to live in, long after we’re gone.

Parents and educators still think it’s a policy problem or an administrative inefficiency. There’s this whole Revolution going on in the world out there brought upon by demographics,technology and a general mental revolution and we see it and sense it everyday. The evidence of systems of old collapsing are all around us; family institutions, religious traditions, individual roles, financial institutions, our understanding of economics…etc. Do we actually still believe SCHOOLING would be spared?

I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of parents and educators who do not understand or see the things people on this other side of the divide see. Like everyone else on this side of the divide, I live my daily life knowing Change is already here and doing my best to find information and make calculated decisions on how best to prepare our young ones for that future. But so many others lack the perspectives and insights to be able to interpret and make sense of the information and evidence that is staring them in their face everyday. The only people who seem to be getting it are the youths falling in between the cracks of the old order and the new world they were meant to inherit.

Continue reading “Birth of a New Civilization through parenting and education.”

Forget standardized testing as a measure of potential

Do you think that merit should be based on how far a learner has come in overcoming their disadvantages or that a person deserves the rewards in life based on relative advantages?(Better resources, neighborhood…etc)

If you were someone who had worked hard at overcoming your relative disadvantages, would you want to be acknowledged for your effort or would you feel insulted that the benchmarks to acknowledge you are different?

To a large extent I think that schooling and college as it is now is a caste system. The system is tailored by and for the same kind of people who would excel in the current given measurement of achievement.

While many struggle to fit into those measurements / qualifications, those who are similar in abilities to the people who designed the benchmarks need significantly LESS effort to arrive at the same level of competency.

Validating MI means we don’t judge people only on one set of criterion handed down by one type of human intelligence which has been dominating academia from Day one – thus writing the code for the platform of scholastic merit in the 20th Century. While it is true that a percentage of those people with school-smarts also possess other types of intelligences, this is not a reflection of academia as a whole. This is evident when we take all the Professors in the world and we see only a handful who have very high aptitudes across  intelligences mentioned in the works of Gardner/ Coleman.

The concept of Multiple Intelligence of course has been distorted and misrepresented by people out to make a quick buck. Here in Penang (and I am sure elsewhere as well) I see “schools” and expensive “child centres” advertising Multiple Intelligence as if it were a method of accelerated learning. The part that infuriates me is that people who have no respect for the serious work and research in education psychology  are exploiting and destroying the credibility of such findings among the public through an outright misrepresentation of the facts and blatant exaggeration in their claims.

I fully agree with the idea of implementing evaluations where no one could possibly prepare for in advance. I never found consistent high correlations between studying for something and not studying for it. But I found that motivation and interest makes a big difference. If in one semester I had issues with a subject or teacher it would be  reflected in how well I do later in a test.

Not everyone is intelligent in the narrow way schooling in the 20th century defined. It is very  IMPORTANT to acknowledge that we as a society must not measure people’s potential based on how well they can ace exams and argue a point or are articulate.

The problem is NOT how some people have advantages over others causing others to have to compete and struggle. The problem is HOW we have arbitrarily created a world built upon an illusion of individual competencies which do NOT reflect the full dimensions of human potential

The reason why I transcribed the interview because it is an issue (meritocracy in tests, achievements) that has been very close to my heart for over two decades. The repercussions of how we structure the value of human potential around exams is far-reaching; schools, interviews, admissions, resumes, companies, referrals, etc. People build their lifetimes around an idea they have of themselves which was perpetuated by a flawed system of measurement in the first place.  Please, tell me that I am not the only one who believes this. Anyone else struggling with trying to articulate this for over 2 decades?