Sunday, April 22, 2018

Don't forget about reading

Sent to the Taipei Times, April 22,2018

I was surprised to discover that the Taiwan Ministry of Education will prioritize “listening and speaking skills” in English language education, and that they will encourage students to “first listen, then speak , then write” (Robert Dildine, “Education Magic,” Letter to the Editor, April 22, referring to a report in Taipei Times, “A long road to improving education,” Jan 24).  

The Ministry forgot something: Reading.  Research over the last 40 years has confirmed that we acquire language by understanding what we hear and read, and that the ability to speak and write is the result of listening and reading.  Study after study confirms that listening and reading need to come before speaking and writing. 

The Ministry might want to do some reading themselves and get familiar with this research. The annual English Teachers Association meeting in Taipei typically includes many reports from Taiwan’s scholars and teachers confirming that reading, especially self-selected reading, results in impressive gains in vocabulary, writing, grammar, spelling, and of course reading ability. In fact, time spent reading results in better progress in these areas than time spent in traditional teaching. 

Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California, School of Education

Friday, April 6, 2018

sloppy tweet + sloppy reporting = unfair attack on boba milk

“Lies are half-way around the world before the truth can get its shoes on.” (Attributed to Mark Twain.)

This following was posted on twitter (Bestofnextdoor) by someone in Millbrae Park:
“I agree with the lady who spoke at the public hearing who said kids hanging out a boba milk tea shops are throwing their futures away when they should be studying SATs, nonstop.”

The tweet was immediately discussed in several local newspapers and websites and by others with wider circulation. The reports did not question the accuracy of the tweet. They should have.

I discovered that the “lady who spoke at the public gathering” was Prof. Christy Lao, SF State University, a respected scholar in language education and literacy. She posted a response on Resonate. She pointed out that she did not attack Boba Tea shops, and did not recommend nonstop SAT testprep.  Please read what she really did say.

Christy Lao Reply
It has come to my attention that my remarks at the public hearing on a site development plan, the Millbrae Serra Station Project, at Taylor Middle School, on March 27, 2018 were inaccurately reported on Nextdoor twitter and the twitter post, unfortunately, was quoted in “Some Bay Area Moms Worry Boba Tea is Destroying their Children’s Future” (Nextshark, March 28, 2018). I did NOT attack Boba Milk Tea and did not say students should be “studying SATs, nonstop.”
I DID say that students spend a great deal of time at Boba tea shops because of the shortage of quality after-school activities and enrichment programs that will help our students be more well-rounded.
I also said that “Mills High School does not have the variety and the quality extracurricular activities and athletic programs that Burlingame High School offers. Top tier colleges look for students not only with good grades but students that are well rounded, unique and have their own minds.”