GI in easier English

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Bill Templer's picture
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Many of us work with students who are A2/B1 level in reading, or below that. Many learners don't get much beyond that, especially learners in deprived circumstances. Do we need material on GI in simpler English? I think yes. One attempt was by NEW INTERNATIONALIST a decade go, still accessible: http://www.newint.org/easier-english/contents.html Take a look. I've used the texts there on child labor, excellent. I think this kind of project should be revived. VOA Special English http://bit.ly/xXjyWO has a huge volume of texts on many topics in the online archive, a kind of 'EAP Lite,' some related to GI. Of course it is not very critical. Nonetheless, here something recent in Special English on the trafficking of kids from Nepal into child labor, the sex trade: http://bit.ly/yIdg9p Also with audio MP. I think we could also begin producing critical texts on justice and equality issues, other issues local and global, using a form of Ogden/Richards' BASIC ENGLISH 850, which is a core vocab of less than a thousand headwords. Here a classic short piece by Ivor Richards on BASIC, "A World Language": http://ogden.basic-english.org/bec6.html#3 . What do you think, esp. if you teach non-elite learners, maybe reluctant to learn, wherever?

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Greetings, Bill. I am moderating on Young Learners and Teenagers forum just down the road from here, so I thought I would pop in to say: "Hi".

I think this is an excellent idea and would like to learn through this forum how teachers around the world react to this suggestion.

Dennis

Bill Templer's picture
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Hi Dennis,
one idea I continue to push (though as yet not gaining much traction) is setting up a mini-research center -- or Sonderforschungsbereich in the German sense -- preferably at some university, for research on simplified English. Such a unit might also launch some experiment in creating more materials for reading. No such research unit exists anywhere. Here a brief article: http://tinyurl.com/3q94pza

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Dear William,

Most teenage learners, I am sure, are unwilling to learn unless they have a strong motivation. I would not say there is lack of simpler English material on GI. A variety of couresebooks of different publishing houses, e.i. Longman Pearson , Oxford University Press, Express Publishing, MacMillan, etc. facilitate teachers and students with a range of athentic material on GI. Teachers and students in Ukraine are interested in discussing GI, understanding that the HUMAN is the center of concern.
I have looked through all the sites you refer to and find them all very handy for classroom exploitation. I love discussing consumerism and trash with younger kids and human trafficking with graduate students as a lot of them tend to go abroad to study and should be aware of all the issues that migh occur to them.

Thank you for the cocern and ideas.

Bill Templer's picture
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Hi Maria,

what textbooks from Express Publishing have good materials on GI from a critical perspective? One problem with textbooks is that teachers have to have a copy, if not the students, so $$ involved.

Online there is a lack of critical materials on global issues in simpler English. That seems to me to be a fact. Much of the analysis is in language at a level of 4-5,000 headwords and above. Articles on sites like http://www.countercurrents.org or http://truth-out.org [great sources] are often targeted to the reading ability of native-speaker college graduates. I am less concerned about 'authentic' materials than I am about 'comprehensible' stuff for students at their comfort zone level.

DECLINING LEVELS OF INDEPENDENT READING in L1 OR ANY OTHER: Many high school and university students in Bulgaria are turned off to anything but the minimum for passing some exam. Levels of self-selected reading for pleasure in L1 (i.e. Bulgarian) are now very low according to the input I have from among even better secondary school students and teachers in different towns.

Such free voluntary reading (FVR) of serious stuff, fiction of all kinds, used to be much more extensive under state socialism here. Books were very cheap, a certain 'reading culture' was more widespread, perhaps promoted by the government and its ideologues. Today FVR borders on disaster in the view of many educators here in Bulgaria. Despite so much that is online.

What about in the Ukraine? Are your ordinary students (from average working families) reading much of anything in a framework of self-selected free voluntary reading for pleasure in Ukrainian? Or in English? Including maybe 'narrow reading' in Krashen's sense, centering on one topic of high personal interest, or books by a single author.

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Hi William,

The number of school students interested in free voluntary reading is decreasing in Ukraine too. They are more interested in watching movies, playing computer games and gossiping online. Reading is definitely not teens' top priority in my country.

" Across cultures " and " Eyewitness " from Longman have interesting discussional topics on GI. They are from environmental issues to racial discrimination and to clean water rights for everybody. The textbooks are not easy reading. My students start work with them when they are 6th-graders/12 years old. They enter my school a year earlier. We mind map the articles and adapt complicated grammar strucrures to simpler ones. The process of mind mapping and adaptation is time consuming, though rewarding for the students, I am sure. This makes learning process easier and helps the students develop necessary skills for further education, I believe.

If I feel there isn't enough information on GI, I look for it on WWF projects. I found out about them in MacMillan Topics.

To develop students' vocabulary, necessary to discuss GI, I use " English Vocabulary in Use' from MacMillan, basic through advanced.

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Hi Bill,
I totally agree that there should be more articles on GI accessible to lower level English learners - and I was thinking of volunteering to New Internationalist to grade a few of their most important articles each month - maybe to put on part of their website - but I think that would be a really big task to take on alone. If there were a team of us ELT teacher doing it, though, it would be more do-able. Anyone interested?
Linda (ESOL teacher in London)

Bill Templer's picture
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Here the current NEW INTERNATIONALIST: http://www.newint.org/ It really is a source we could be using through a kind of downshifting of the language. I tested four articles in NEW INTERNATIONALIST for 'readability' in the classic limited but useful sense of the Flesch-Kincaid indices, here some data:

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level --- Flesch Reading Ease
13 ---------------------------------------- 37
13.6 -------------------------------------- 33
14 ---------------------------------------- 49
12.5 -------------------------------------- 52

We could get these down perhaps to 8 or 9 on F-K grade level and maybe 60-70 on reading ease.

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I've used the 2002 New Internationalist on-line simplified texts with students - but it would be great to grade some of their monthly articles regularly - and / or have a monthly English lesson based on one of the topics. I'll write to them and see if they think it's a possibility - maybe we could do it as a group effort from the GI SIG? - and let you know what they say.
Linda

Bill Templer's picture
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Hi
I proposed this with GISIG some time back. You can write to Brian Loffler at NI and see how he responds: brianl@newint.com.au He is in Australia. NI office there.
Here a link for direct comment to NI:
http://www.newint.org/contact

Bill Templer's picture
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Hi Linda,

It would be possible to contact New Internationalist to get their OK if we can find a few people willing to do this. Let's see what develops. I can be contacted at bill_templer@yahoo.com

Here a quite good video on Int. Women's Day and women's problems from VOA Special English, simpler talk on IWD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQd69RONXQU Maybe you can use. This and simpler is what is needed. The American government can't be counted on to be critical on most issues, but women's issues seems somewhat of an exception.

Bill Templer's picture
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Brief but relevant video: http://bit.ly/GKaOH5

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i checked both urls of yours its help full...

geld verdienen im internet

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