Monthly Archives: April 2007

There’s a lesson here somewhere…

On The Eclectic Garden, a Western Australian blog I read regularly, the latest entry is one some may relate to: A Lesson In Geography.

…Given a few facts and an empty sheet of paper, I could address most exam and assignment questions with as much aplomb as necessary to confuse and bamboozle most teachers into at least a ‘C’ grade. Of course, this did not apply as well to the sciences and was virtually useless in mathematics but I had only modest goals at school and these were:

1. To work as little as possible; and
2. To achieve just enough as to keep my parents off my back.

My talent for writing and invention carried me through most subjects and, as for maths; I figured even my parents’ expectations stopped just short of perfection. I was young and arrogant and for years neither my goals nor strategies suffered any serious dent. While my friends struggled valiantly to make a few hard-earned facts go to more than one page, I was happily writing screeds on the basis of pure air and vaguely related ephemera.

Then one day it all came to an end…

Comments Off on There’s a lesson here somewhere…

Posted by on April 30, 2007 in for teachers, gifted education, study skills


A new version of Blade Runner?

Many NSW Year 12 Advanced English students will be interested in this: Blade Runner – REDONE?

Comments Off on A new version of Blade Runner?

Posted by on April 28, 2007 in English studies, HSC, Media/Film studies


Tags: ,

Excellent series on Islam in Australia

Sure, some in the Australian Muslim communities may quarrel over details, while others may not, but I am glad the Sydney Morning Herald has today published a series of special articles on this important and much misunderstood part of the Australian family. See: Islam in Australia: a diverse society finds a new voice by Hamish McDonald. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Excellent series on Islam in Australia

Posted by on April 28, 2007 in Australian, diversity, multiculturalism



On welfare issues with Korean-Australian students


This post has become very long. Written over two days, it has four distinct sections.

— The first part is my immediate response to questions being asked about possible cultural factors in the tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech. It should be noted that I do not aim to “explain” that tragedy.
— Then I present some other posts I have found that take up the same or similar questions. The most significant one comes from a Korean-American pastor.
— In the third section you may read further thoughts based on my own observation of Korean and Korean-Australian students in Australia.
— I conclude with reflections on the need to have a perspective shaped by something more than monoculturalism.

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , ,

Mirrored from my personal site…

In today’s Sun-Herald there is a piece by Kerry-Anne Walsh called “Multiculturalism isn’t the enemy.” Unfortunately, given it is an excellent piece, it is not online. It should be. So here most of it is:

…Twenty years ago, a folk festival in Australia was a homage to all things Celtic. It’s a sign of Australia’s extraordinary growth and maturity that the four-day [Canberra Folk] festival now attracts the cream of domestic and international acts and honours the music, dance, arts and cultural life of an extraordinary number of nationalities in the Australian family.

This year, as the poisonous war in Iraq and the turmoil in Afghanistan continue, the music of the Middle East was deliberately honoured.

As his Government readies to whistle up so-called cultural values as an election issue, Howard, if he’d attended, would have witnessed a microcosm of the miracle that is our new multicultural society.

Kevin Andrews, the staunchly Catholic Immigration Minister whose added title of Multicultural Affairs was ditched in January as the government moves to ditch multiculturalism altogether, might also have received divine enlightenment.

Traditional Aussie bush poets performed alongside a wide variety of Middle Eastern music and dance groups. Irish fiddlers jigged and reeled; Aussie bands played bouzoukis alongside didgeridoos. A Sunday morning ecumenical Easter service was themed in the celebration of diversity, with prayers for the narrow-minded, the war-torn, and the bigoted.

The broader political backdrop, in this election year, is an ideological battle over the future of multiculturalism with the government ramping up its “integration” rhetoric as the poll date nears.

Howard explained that dumping “multicultural affairs” from the ministry name and adding “citizenship” expressed “the desire and aspiration that immigrants become Australians”.

Does that mean that the 7 million people from 200 countries who have successfully made Australia home while retaining their own proud heritage haven’t wanted to become Australians?

Why not applaud the successes of our melting-pot society… instead of finding fault and political opportunities?

Multiculturalism didn’t create the Cronulla riots. White and black Australia led the way long before the term “multiculturalism” was coined in the 1970s. And white blokes sitting in radio studios are a bigger threat to racial harmony than a word.

The word “muticulturalism” is now loaded by some politicians and detractors to send the erroneous message that multiple cultures threaten the Anglo one.

They should get out more.

I despair at the anticorrectness correctness that infects the Howard government. They are tossing many a healthy baby out with the bathwater, I feel.

See also Shan Jayaweera, “Sharing two cultures shouldn’t be a test of allegiance.” Read the rest of this entry »



Joseph M Williams Style: Towards Clarity and Grace (U Chicago 1990)


An oldie now, as you may see, and not all readers like it as the Amazon reader reviews under the pic above indicate. I have grown to like it a lot. For a start, it is very sensible on a topic that gets many a pair of knickers in a knot:

Now there is a lively debate about whether action and understanding have anything to do with each other, whether those who want to write clearly ought to study the principles of language at all. You may write well, yet you can’t distinguish a subject from a verb, or you may understand everything from retained subjects to the subjunctive pluperfect progressive, and still write badly. From this apparent contradiction many have concluded that we don’t have to understand principles of grammar to write well. Writing well, they believe, has to do with being sincere, or writing how they speak, or finding authentic voices, or just being born with the knack. Others devoutly believe that they learned to write well only because they studied Latin and diagrammed sentences beyond number.

The truth will disconcert both persuasions. Nostalgic anecdotes aside, the best evidence suggests that students who spend a lot of time studying grammar improve their writing not one bit. In fact, they seem to get worse. On the other hand, there is good evidence that mature writers can change the way they write once they grasp a principled way of thinking about language, but one that is rather different from the kind of grammar some of us may dimly remember mastering — or being mastered by…

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Joseph M Williams Style: Towards Clarity and Grace (U Chicago 1990)

Posted by on April 14, 2007 in English grammar, esl for teachers, for teachers, writing



Resources for ESL/EFL Teachers — another WordPress blog

I will also be adding this to the blog roll. Very neat use of the 4 column Fjords theme, which I considered but it didn’t suit some of my pages. Works well here though. See Resources for ESL/EFL Teachers. What I have checked so far — and there is a lot there — looks really useful.

This site contains both original and previously published resources for ESL/EFL teaching that I have used successfully in the classroom. I also include recommendations for resources available elsewhere, which are subject to any restrictions as stipulated by the owners of that material.

This is the Listening Resources page:



Posted by on April 11, 2007 in esl for teachers, for teachers