What Kind of Learner are you?
Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments and well done to those who attempted the challenge. Thanks for your posts too Marcos. I am very happy to see that you are an enthusiastic blogger! Please do tell us more about your job.
I will post answers to the challenge at the end of this blog but for now, let’s get down to some serious business. I was sitting in our office the other day pondering this blog and one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was this:
What do all the student bloggers do with this blog? Do you download it? Save it? Record certain words/expressions from it? Try to imitate some of the stylistic features of it? Tell me, I am curious.
And following on from that question came this one: what do they want from it? From me? To be fully effective as a teacher blogger, I would really like answers to these questions. These are questions for you as well Marcos as you are this month’s student blogger and I notice you haven’t yet done your homework. :)
All this is related to the title of this blog. We all learn in different ways according to whether we are visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners, whether we like to learn with others or prefer to spend time studying alone, whether we are risk takers or not.
I would still like to have some questions from you Marcos as well regarding what you would like to know. I loved your recounting of your childhood memory of learning about Sri Lanka and its flag. It was well written and very evocative.
Let’s take a closer look at another of your paragraphs to help you (and the other bloggers) with your writing style:
“Well, let me start to answer your questions. (This is a good opening sentence to a paragraph. You use a good narrative technique and the tone is chatty and friendly) At Christmas I went to my parents' house in Pereiro. (Great but how did you get there? Tell us more. 340 km is quite a distance. It would have been interesting to know whether you went by train, bus, car) From Fortaleza (where I live) to Pereiro (where my parents live) is about 340 km. We had a great time there. (How was it great? This sentence teases us but we want more detail.) My parents, my two brothers, my sister, my nephew, my sister-in-law, my girlfriend... Everyone was at my parents' house at Christmas night. It was a special night.” (Again, we can imagine why it might have been special but tell us more – personalise it by telling us what it was that made you feel it was special- was it because you don’t get together very often? Was it because you have been busy lately and haven’t seen your family as often as you usually do?).
Marcos, your writing has a high degree of accuracy and is pretty fluent as well. I think you have a nice style but I would like you to take more risks and experiment more with your use of vocabulary. I hope you don’t mind me saying this but I feel a little as though you are playing it safe. Until recently I used to be an IELTS examiner and when evaluating a candidate's script we used to have to think about whether he/she was a risk taker or not. It is generally thought to be positive to take risks as a language learner. So, show us what you can do with the language and if you want to use a certain expression but are not sure of it, go ahead and use it anyway. You will receive feedback from me or the other bloggers. Basically, what I am saying is don’t be afraid.
Mauricio – you bring up an interesting language point with your question. In the sentence “Here she is with Santa” as you correctly said is in the present tense yet the event took pace in the past. Well, the reason I have used the present simple tense is twofold: First of all, Isabel will be with Santa in that photo for as long as it exists as a photo. Therefore I am stating a fact – describing what is true about that photo. Secondly, it also serves the function of bringing the event closer to you and closer to real time chat as if we are talking in the here and now. This is partly because it is a blog and the communication is meant to be more informal and chatty and partly because I am playing the role of story teller and story tellers often use the present tense to narrate past events, for the same purpose – bringing the reader closer to what the characters are experiencing. I hope that makes sense.
James – I am glad you like the phrase ‘to be in awe of someone/something’. I find myself using it a lot about Isabel. People tend to be in awe of someone or something when they are experiencing something for the first time/when they see something wondrous/when they admire something/someone. Yes, you can say you are in awe of me if you like. It is a very flattering thing to say. :) But I am curious - why are you in awe of me?! Photos/pictures can be used interchangeably.
Guzin – Yes, Isabel has started talking but has a limited vocabulary at the moment. Yes, we are trying to raise her to be bilingual but the majority of her productive vocabulary at the moment is English.
Christine and Robert – sorry you are feeling the cold. Yes, we do have nice warm temperatures in Sri Lanka. It is about 28 degrees Celsius on average at the moment.
Dusan and everyone– yes, I have used a lot of tenses in this post. Is this usual? Let’s keep a regular track of tense variety in my posts and our own writing. It is important to use a variety of structures to make our writing more interesting - that is unless of course we are great literary giants who can get away with only using one or two tenses in a whole passage/chapter. Can you think of any writers who do this?
Naheed – I will bring my father to you just as soon as he arrives and gets over his jet lag. :) I am eagerly awaiting his arrival tomorrow morning.
Well, good night all. I am off to eat dinner now which will be a combination of the leftovers from the Thai lunch we had and some steamed rice and veggies.
Please keep up with the strong start you have all made to the new year with your blogging.
Speak to you soon,
Tenses used and functions in last post
Ewa did really well here so I am going to quote most of her examples:
1. Past Simple to show a completed action at a particular point in the past
E.g. How did you spend your New Year’s Eve?
2. Present Simple which we use when we talk about things which are factual, or happen repeatedly
E.g. What do you do? /Here she is with Santa Claus
3. Future Simple to indicate a decision made at the time of writing/speaking
E.g. I will give you...
4. Present Perfect simple – in this case to describe a state that began in the past but is still true. (unfinished past)
E.g. We have been here since August 2008
5. Present Perfect continuous to connect the past and present activity
E.g. How long have you been blogging?
6. Past Continuous which we use when we are in the middle of the action at the certain time
E.g. Were you partying...?
7. Present Continuous in this case for future arrangements:
E.g. My father is coming...
Try to suggest alternatives for these extracts from Marcos’ posts and explain your choice of structure/correction:
1. And I never forgot the flag of your country…
2. When I saw you are from Sri Lanka immediately came on my mind: "the country of the little lion".
3. I wish that you help me to write this blog during this month.
4. I am 31 years-old..
5. I am doing Master’s Degree
6. Since the first class I enjoy this language.
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.