Archive for October, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaching Ghouls

By Ela Newman
Instructor in Developmental Writing and in ESL
University of Texas at Brownsville

There were spooky rubber spiders strewn across the walls, and eerie paper witches on little wooden broomsticks hanging from ceiling.  It was a pre-Halloween workshop for our English tutors and a scene fitting to the topic of discussion that evening, namely, An English Tutor’s Worst Nightmare: What It Would Be and How We Could Banish It.

The workshop began, and after only the slightest of promptings, the several tutors had pieced together a quite sad and scary picture.  The image centered on a tutee, and a sorry one indeed.  This student was fifteen minutes late to the tutoring appointment, distinctly rude when making the acquaintance of the tutor, sharply offensive in body odor, completely lacking in written work and other materials, and, during the tutoring session, generally unresponsive to the tutor’s advice as well as hyper-critical of the respective teacher’s instruction.

With this horrifying specter before us, we proceeded to the workshop’s corrective phase (or perhaps better the exorcistic phase) and began to brainstorm ideas on how to cope with such a situation effectively and professionally.  Composed of some bright heads, the group quickly generated a good little list of measures…

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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Of-Genitive and Other Genitives: More Complexity

By Richard Firsten
Retired ESOL Teacher, Teacher-Trainer, Columnist, Author

In my last piece for Teacher Talk (“The -S Genitive: A World of Complexity”), I outlined most of the complexities in meaning behind the use of that English grammatical form. I did so to help ELT professionals become more aware of why that form of the genitive is used in certain circumstances and how to explain any of those uses should the need arise if students raise questions. Now I’d like to focus on the of-genitive and on some other forms of the genitive as well.

Let’s begin by talking a little about each use of the of-genitive so we’ll have good explanations and examples for our students. Here are eight examples to show the varied uses for the of-genitive. Before you read further on after looking over the list, see if you can explain the meaning behind the use for of in each example. I hope you don’t find any head scratchers!

  1. the glow of moonlight
  2. the height of her fame
  3. the children of the man I hired to paint my house
  4. a pair of pants
  5. the leaves of a tree
  6. a bit of kindness
  7. a quart of milk
  8. the bulls of Pamplona

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