Friday, March 30, 2007

Survive Originality from Consolidation

Let us look at the two examples:
1) In my opinion I believe that you there is no field that cannot be effected some sort of advancement that one maybe need a college degree to make it.( LE 107)
2) A person with a college degree has a better chance for advancement in any field.( LE 108)

At first when I considered about the two sentences above which are quoted by Min-zhan Lu in his Redefining the Legacy of Mina Shaughnessy: A Critique of the Politics of Linguistic Innocence, all my mind was focusing on how refined and simplified and advanced as well as academic the latter sentence is ( let alone whether it is the student's revised sentence or the modal one the teacher might pose for the student) in a clear-cut contrast of the former one which is not only grammatically wrong for some places but also kind of burdensome because of the seemingly unnecessary "fillers"--In my opinion and I believe, however. Later on after I went through the sentences again and again I finally realized that what a big mistake I have made for my previous critique about them! As Min-zhan Lu highlights so many times, different ways of using words--different discourses--might exercise different constraints on how one "crafts" the meaning "one has in mind."( LE 107), obviously the grammatical mistakes were all corrected and right now it seems more like a production of the academic English, however, at the same time, it lost the original thoughts and ways of thinking and expressing which the student was truly meant to convey at his or her first thoughts rooted in his or her specific political background.

Again and again Shaughnessy focuses her attention on her advices of "tasks" to be done by the BW students which are actually around the same issue, that is, the acquisition or mastering of " a new variety of language--academic English".(LE 106) To my thoughts, because Shaughnessy's solid viewpoint is that the students' home languages of a wide variety of social and political backgrounds have kind of no intersection with the academic English, so the only thing the students are supposed to do is to fight against their own languages and get rid of the influence of their own backgrounds and get as much as they can the access to academic English, in another words, to substitute their most familiar most beloved home languages which are defined as not formal and not appropriate and even illogical-sounded with the widely spread and adopted and acknowledged "academic English". Furthermore, I realized that, most of the times at the instance of gaining something you think right and meaningful, you are losing something else which is probably the most valuable treasure of yourself !!

Here, specifically, while the students are learning how to neglect their home languages and write only using the academic language in which their grammar mistakes are corrected, they are losing their personality and originality and creativity and writing as well as language styles all showed in their former writings! Are we teachers really doing the right things? Are we for sure making benefits to the students?

In this way, I found the action put into practice from Shaughnessy's essentialist pedagogy is going against what she promotes: to master the academic English and conform themselves to the rules of this formal written Language by abandoning a whole system of their own stuff is against her goals of "ultimate freedom of deciding how and when and where to use which language"( LE 106) and "help students attain discursive options, freedom, and choice"( LE 106). The more the students will learn all the rules and regulations about the academic English, the deeper degree they'll fail in achieving the goal of "the ultimate freedom"and "discursive options, freedom, and choice"!

The essence of meaning shouldn't precede and isn't independent of language, that's what Lu illustrated to us by the large number of concrete examples and supporting theories.

Let's help the students survive their ORIGINALITY in mind from the CONSOLIDATION during the process of learning the ACADEMIC ENGLISH!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

"When a writer breaks the rules of word order that govern the English sentence, he usually disturbs the reader at a deep level"E.E 90, the first sentence came into my mind that it tells me how important the correctness of the word order thus the logic of the sentences.Some students due to careless so they pay little attention to that, so it can really make the readers confuse. So I think teach them to be logical in thier writings is very important and in this way, we can help them to build up a more concret foundations of thier techniques of writing.