Ten Questions, Asked


Photo, slide and artistic direction by @michaelegriffin

In my most recent post I tried to answer some questions I have been asked lately or thought I would blog about some day. In this post I am switching it around and asking some questions I have been wondering about. I am slightly worried that some of these questions are verging on “let me google that for you” territory but I also think someone might have an answer readily available. Any responses greatly appreciated.

  1. It seems like there is a difference in how North Americans and Europeans use the word “blog.” When I talk about a blog I mean the whole big thing itself and not specific posts. I have heard Britishers say “I put up a new blog today” and while I was able to figure out the meaning (I’d call that a post) relatively easily I wondered how we could account for language differences on what is obviously such a new word.
  2. Speaking of differences in English usage…If in a textbook (like an English textbook) what I (as a Septic  Yank, I mean USAmerican) would call “directions” (or “direction line” in the parlance of the field, apparently) but this would be called a “rubric” in British English, then what would Brits call what I would call a rubric? Taking a look at the Merriam Webster Dictionary entry for rubric, I am talking about meaning 4, “a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests.” How would this be said in British English? By the way, the etymology of this word rubric is pretty interesting.
  3. If you were planning a “guided discovery” lesson (especially for someone else to see and even evaluate) would you use the PPP framework? If not, what would you use? Is PPP a good match for this type of lesson? Why/Why not? What other options might you use? (I have my own ideas on this but I’d love to hear more) [Here is a nice post on guided discovery on Scott Thornbury’s sadly departed A-Z of ELT Blog.]
  4. While on the subject of frameworks, is it standard practice on most ELT (say pre-service) teacher training course to talk explicitly about frameworks and to plan lessons according to them?
  5. As mentioned in my previous post, part of my job is working with future interpreters. We work with lots of formal speeches, especially from government officials. Every time I find or am sent a speech that looks reasonable (in terms of English and content) I just cut and paste it to a googledoc (wordly) (googledrive doc or whatever it is called now*). I have something like 45 speeches there, amounting to over around 100 pages. At some point I’d like to make a (small?) corpus from this collection. My questions are: Is this too small? Do I need more speeches? What would my next steps be? Do I need to do some “scrubbing” of the doc?  I am not sure if my questions are as clear as they should be, because I am not really sure what I want to do with this. Links and tips very welcome. (Note: I suppose I could have just googled this but I also thought someone (Mura Nava?) might have some hints and tricks for a novice corpus creator such as myself)
  6. What tools are people using for Twitter chats these days? I used to use Tweetchat but then it got a bit weird. It seems ok now (I have in fact used it lately) but I wonder if there are better options out there.
  7. Sticking with Twitter for a moment, why do people use programs to tweet automatically? I mean, what are the perceived benefits? What exactly is the purpose of this? These are real questions because I am genuinely curious. I am trying not to be all Mr. Judgy Pants with it. (Though, in the interests of full disclosure, I do find it extremely annoying and I am not entirely sure why)
  8. Am I really going to insist on stretching this to 10 questions?
  9. I am hoping to do another post introducing newer blogs (as I did for 2013 and the latter half of 2013). If you have any suggestions, please let me know! In the form of a question: Are there any new ELTblogs you’d like to recommend? (Including yours. There is no shame here.)
  10. Have you heard about the glorious #flashmobELT movement?

*This (repeated) renaming of googledocs prompted me to call my parents and apologize to them for getting the name of shops in town wrong 20 years ago. Now I fully understand where they were coming from. Sorry guys! (That said, I am still not sure if “Shop N Shave” was a reasonable confusion for “Shop N Save” but I will let this slide as well.)


  1. Laura Adele

    #2 – From what I understand, a rubric is just called ‘criteria’ in British English. That’s how it gets called around here anyway, and I have a hard time with that one. Did you know in British English people don’t proctor an exam? they invigilate. I had never thought about how ugly the word ‘proctoring’ is when it comes to exam, but invigilating makes me think of a teacher wearing a cape and acting as a super hero or something. Of goes the “invigilante” –saving ENG 101 of cheating! Anyway, enough randomness on my behalf 😉

    • mikecorea

      I can’t believe it took me more than a week to respond to this, Laura. At least I immediately tweeted something about #invigilantejustice. I am all for getting away from the word proctoring. Especially in such close proximity to the word exam. So yeah. Where was I? Ohh thanks for the comments. I think it is fun to explore this (presumably) British and American differences and also nice to remember corpora can be our friends. Hope all is well and that you are enjoying your new adventure.

  2. eflnotes

    hi mike

    ooh questions related to corpora – question 1 (&2) is ripe for a corpus answer; when i get time report back any findings and post it on g+ CL site as I can then upload some screenshots 🙂

    for q5 for ESP purposes size is not as important as how representative your corpus is for your content aims (of course both size and representativeness correlate positively);

    so i would not worry too much about size unless you want to generalise any findings from your corpus;

    additionally for using parrallel corpora in translation work i recommend reading this paper by Frankenberg-Garcia (2007) http://anafrankenberg.synthasite.com/resources/FG2007LostinParallelConcordances.pdf


    • mikecorea

      Ta Mura,
      I knew I came to the right place. What is very interesting (and slightly embarrassing) to me is that I didn’t even consider the corpora connection on my English usage questions. Of course! Very good point.

      Thanks also for the comments regarding representativeness and corpus size. I think that is one area my collection scores very highly as it is all from speeches my students (who are becoming experts in choosing what sort of speech they need to work with).

      Thanks for the article as well. Parallel corpora was something I hadn’t considered at all, to be honest.

      Thanks Mura!

  3. Rachael Roberts

    Ooh, good food for thought, Mike 🙂
    1. I’d say post actually, but wonder if it’s because the verb is to blog?
    2. Joe McVeigh asked me this- how about a marking scheme?
    3. Why not? As I understand it, the GD is a way of dealing with clarification (after Jim Scrivener) and could go in any kind of lesson shape.
    4. Can’t say if it’s standard practice, but I used to use Scrivener’s ARC terms (e.g. clarification, restricted practice, authentic use) on CELTA and look at possible lesson frameworks that way.
    5. Definitely ask Mura 🙂
    6. Still using tweetdeck, but doesn’t work very reliably now.
    7. Don’t know either.
    8. Looks like it.
    9. Haven’t been on twitter enough to spot them, but hope you do do this post!
    10. Yes!

    • stevebrown70

      Hey, what’s the deal? I posted a load of questions this week as well. If I wasn’t me I would wonder if you were me. I tell you what, I’ll answer your if you answer mine OK? Yours are a bit techie though, so I can’t answer all of them:
      1. Is that a British vs. American thing? I thought that people who use blog for post just weren’t very familiar with blogging. My Dad, for example, says “I read your new blog today”, but I think my blog is the only one he reads. I’m still getting to grips with the noun/verb thing. I mean, surely you can’t say “I posted a new post today”. How about “I posted a new blog entry”? Would that work?
      2. In Scottish national qualifications-speak they would be Performance Criteria, or PCs.
      3. PPP starts with a presentation, right? A guided discovery lesson requires the students to discover the rule for themselves. I think you’d have to loosen the definition of “presentation” very far if you want it to include a student-centred discovery stage. Language presentation, as I understand it, involves the teacher standing at the front and telling the students stuff.
      4. I think it probably is, yes. Different frameworks are used of course, but I think the received wisdom is that new teachers need to be given some sort of framework (or choice of frameworks) to hang their lessons around.
      5. You should definitely get advice from someone who has done this sort of thing before (so not me).
      6. I’m pretty new to Twitter so can’t really advise on this either.
      7. I didn’t even know that you could do this, but now that I do know, I don’t see the need for it.
      8. Funny how we always feel the need to make things a round number. Though I do recall you once posted a random-looking number of comments about lesson planning.
      9. My blog is new this year…
      10. Yes, it’s a great idea. I would have got actively involved by now if I didn’t have a million other things preoccupying me.

      • mikecorea

        Hello Steve,

        Thanks for the answers. I appreciate it.
        I enjoyed both your recent posts very much.

        “What have I learned?: (this year) http://stevebrown70.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/what-have-i-learned/
        the 21 questions for language teachers you mentioned: http://stevebrown70.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/21-questions-for-language-teachers/

        I was surprised in June when I realized you’d only been in the blogging game for less than 6 months. While sort of on the subject of blogging and round numbers, I have to commend you on stopping at 49 posts this year. That is the type of round number that would constantly be sending me a siren call.

        I dont think I have the time or headspace to answer your questions at the moment but I think someday I will take a crack at them. I was also thinking the questions might make for a nice training session. Something like “Devling into the Steve Brown 21 Questions” or even a much better title. I think it would be nice to get into the habit of completely ripping off your ideas. 🙂

        To respond to some of your responses.

        a) You wrote, “surely you can’t say “I posted a new post today”. I reckon you could. It just sounds a bit repetitive. You also asked about “I posted a new blog entry” and I think that works. I think I often end up saying something like “hit publish” when I am really being specific about the moment in time and trying to avoid saying post twice. I think I also just say, “I posted something on my blog today” Or “I am going to put up a blog post on this topic soon” or something like that. I think someone suggested this is a matter for corpus research and that is an interesting thought. Funny how you took the same expression for being not familiar with blogs and I just took it for British English.

        b) Thanks very much for the thoughts on frameworks. For whatever it is worth your thoughts match very closely with mine.
        (Strangely enough “hang their hats on” is an expression I tend to use for that very situation)

        c) Yout thoughts on #7 (twitter autotweets) made me smile. If someone is not familiar with that concept it might seem unusual.

        Thanks again for the comments, Steve!

        Looking forward to seeing more posts from you in 2014.

    • mikecorea

      Hello Rachael,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. I am sorry in my delay in responding.
      I hope all is well and that you are not too busy. I also hope you will have a nice holiday season. I am just now realizing I have just 2 more classes left in the term!

      My responses to your responses are as follows.

      1. I’d say post actually, but wonder if it’s because the verb is to blog? >>That theory makes sense. It has been interesting to see how a few commenters have said they don’t use blog in the way that I suggested.
      2. Joe McVeigh asked me this- how about a marking scheme? >>Marking scheme works for me.
      (Another interesting difference regarding British/American usage is that when we (or at least me…take it as you will!) use the word scheme it often sounds nefarious or shady.
      3. Why not? As I understand it, the GD is a way of dealing with clarification (after Jim Scrivener) and could go in any kind of lesson shape. >> I see your point here. My thought was that we are bending/expanding the definition of what the first P looks like here if we are doing a guided discover lesson (which is not to say it is wrong or bad). I think something like ARC might work better for a guided discovery lesson.
      4. Can’t say if it’s standard practice, but I used to use Scrivener’s ARC terms (e.g. clarification, restricted practice, authentic use) on CELTA and look at possible lesson frameworks that way. >>Speaking of ARC.. yes. Thanks for the response here. This is sort of what I was expecting but I was not sure. I think of the first frameworks I became acquainted with was ESA (engage, study, activate) which I think is a nice starting point as well.
      5. Definitely ask Mura 🙂 >> I think I picked the right person there.
      6. Still using tweetdeck, but doesn’t work very reliably now. >>> Thanks! I still think twitter is not a great place for a “chat” but it is nice to know there are options. (I have only used tweetdeck for a combined 30 minutes lifetime)
      7. Don’t know either. >> 🙂
      8. Looks like it. >> 🙂
      9. Haven’t been on twitter enough to spot them, but hope you do do this post! >> I think I will have to do it. Meanwhile. Here is a quick example you might enjoy http://wednesdayseminars.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/developing-learning-strategies/
      10. Yes! > I will not pressure anyone to leave an activity or blog about. That is my promise to myself.

      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting Rachael!

  4. Autumn

    2 thoughts to share:

    4. I would say yes. We often think about this here at my school and wonder if we should change this or update the frameworks we use…but as of right now we just keep tweaking the ‘olde schoole’ frameworks (PPP, PDP) by adding in new concepts (like the idea of meta-cognitive processing in conjunction with the PDP framework).

    7. The reason that most of my tweets are auto-tweets is that I am taking part in this international online community as a professional that wants to give back, but also (mostly) as the social networking manager for my TESOL Department. I spend most of the day training teachers, tweaking sessions, building courses and managing admissions, BUT In any spare moment I am trying to manage our Facebook page, maybe tweet some stuff, record videos, and try to write a quick blog or two. I know that this isn’t the ideal way to give back/get involved/interact with the twitter community so I try to make up for it when I can :(. So, I feel that people who have a lot of auto-tweeting might be coming at this from a marketing/word building stand point of a business. Maaaaaaaybe.

    • mikecorea

      Hello Autumn,
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Interesting that you use PPP. I am sure you are familiar with ECRIF so I won’t even link to it here. My half (and seemingly unfounded expectation) was that there was not much framework talk on CELTA and I wondered if it was standard. I personally think frameworks can be incredibly useful as a starting and reference point and a good way to help teachers be explicit about what they are trying to do at certain times.

      As for the autotweets, I wonder if maybe I used the wrong word. I meant like when twitter accounts automatically RT blogs they couldnt have read yet and stuff like that (or constantly retweeting old posts) I am sorry if I sounded a bit too holier than thou or accusatory on this. To be very honest, I have never noticed such things from you or your account.

      I like your point about marketing being a possible reason and I think that is something to think about. I guess the choice on my end is actually quite simple… just don’t follow those accounts that annoy me.

      Thanks as always for the insightful thoughts. Much appreciated. I hope you have a lovely holiday season.

      • Autumn

        Ha! you didn’t sound ‘holier than thou’ at all! I always have this ‘auto-tweet guilt’ because I wish I could devote more of my time to participating in the conversation! Totally my own self-consciousness!

        Well, I am not sure about the lack of frameworks on the CELTA because I have only worked with SIT TESOL courses and the TESOL courses that I’ve been helping develop here at Rennert.

        Yes! We do use ECRIF, but we use PPP and ECRIF sandwiched together! A teaching framework (PPP) with a learning framework (ECRIF). I know that you can use ECRIF as a standalone framework, but they really complement each other nicely and get teachers thinking about the structure of planning lessons and how each stage helps the students’ build deeper understanding and use of language.

        I completely agree with your opinion about frameworks being so helpful. Teachers (and especially new teachers) need structure and need to understand the objectives behind what they do in the classroom with the students. Frameworks facilitate this.

        A happy happy to you as well!!!

  5. Pingback: It’s the thought that counts: 11+ things about me | ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections

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