Friday, February 20, 2009

I Hope So

Today I was teaching my Elite students about reading and summarizing nonfiction. These Elite classes - it's ridiculous how far behind they are. They go through a program where the main focus is on memorizing vocabulary lists and unsurprisingly I find them unable to so much as identify a setting (which to put in perspective is a skill I was teaching my kindergarten students at my last school). They had never heard of the words conflict, climax, resolution and that might be fine if they weren't expected to power through a book in five months that would be studied over an entire school year back home. So, I'm doing my best to put the focus onto an actual ability to analyze literature and to determine vocabulary from context. It's a slow moving thing-and one that should help them a great deal. During the Intensives, their lowest marks were in the reading portion of the TOIEC tests they were taking and it's no surprise to me. It was exactly what I expected to see. They also have ridiculously bad writing skills - because there too, lists of vocabulary are not helpful. They don't know how to craft a main idea and support it with details - they can't even pick one out of a paragraph.

Anyway, rant aside, what I meant to post about was that the article we read was called "What Towns of the Future Will Look Like (If We Take Care of the Environment." After we talked about what headings and captions and titles even are and then summarized the points, Esther said, "The future sounds like a great place."

I certainly hope so, Esther. But it's going to take some work.


Edmonton, Canada: Petro-Canada's Edmonton Refinery and Distribution Centre at dusk

1 comment:

Cairo Typ0 said...

Hubby would be the first to tell you that such skills are not often taught in many countries. Whether it is his students here, or his colaborators in India he spends more them ranting about research skills and english skills than almost anything else other than their analytical skills. *sigh* I totally and utterly understand!!