Few years ago, I opened the twitter account "@herr_doepel" to communicate with my students. As I left NUS in December last year, this account lost its role. However, I'm going to teach a seminar on media in foreign language teaching next semester. The account will be used to exchange information with the students in this seminar. So, please don't get confused by some notes, which are unusual for the former purpose. Feel free to unfollow the account. I won't take it personal.

Cheers, Martin.

As an academic, I have to read a lot. A former professor of mine, Klaus Dicke, underlined the importance of writing excerpts of articles and books, one's reading: After you read an article or book, you want to quote from (directly or indirectly), you write down the essential ideas and quotes of the publication. While doing this, you keep also track of the page numbers, the idea or quote can be found. So, the ideas stick better to your head and you can find these faster than just by highlighting in the text. An excerpt done by hand might look like this example from the beautiful blog "Minimalismus und mehr".

handwritten excerpt

Handwritten excerpt, seen on the blog MinimalismusUndMehr

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When dealing with presentations, I came across two problems that occurred quite often:

  1. Students did not stick to the time-limit. Okay, one could interrupt, when the time is up, time them using cards (5 minutes, 1 minute, final sentence). The first option is not very polite and the second one might put students under pressure with a negative impact on the quality of the presentation.
  2. When accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation, they tended to read from the slides, even after I made clear that they should not do it.

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Our classrooms at NUS are equipped with projectors and computers, so we can use Internet tools in class too. In next semester's first seminar, there is a graphic like this.

The task that gave me some headache.

The task that gave me some headache.

The task is to put in adjectives that describe Geruch (i.e., smell), Geschmack (i.e., taste) or Geräusch (i.e., sound). I could use it with a transparency, but my handwriting is extremely messy, esp. when I use OHP pens. So, I started looking for an on-line solution, and found one. ...continue reading

Due to private reasons, I haven't posted something for a while. But I'm back on track now.

At the CLS 10th Anniversary Symposium, Andrew Littlejohn was mentioning McDonaldization of education. For those, who are not familiar with this term, it's coined from George Ritzer's claim of the McDonaldization of the Society. McDonaldization of education means:

[A] process that, if it were taken to its logical conclusion, would transform schools into the instructional equivalent of fast food outlets. Of particular concern is the de-skilling of educators into deliverers of canned programs, the unhealthy standardization of curriculum and pedagogy and the commercialization of public schools. (Leo Casey at Edwize.org)

It seems that this is an issue of the Anglo-American Utilitarian view of education, which is also adopted by the Germans, who had a Humanistic view. The difference is the follows. In the Utilitarian view, the main point of education is getting a degree and training for the job market, while the Humanistic view sees education as (self-)development of the human being. The job market is not focused. Both views are reasonable, however, in their extremes, both are harmful. ...continue reading