Quick Write 112911 "Preliminary Conditioned QWing 3”

Hi, dear readers and visitors to QWF. It’s almost 1:00 a.m. I’ve just finished writing a research proposal due in three days, and haven’t finished today’s QWing yet! I could give up on QWing and secure my BEAUTY REST (I can see you roll your eyes), but I don’t want to skip my self-chosen regimen only due to my poor time-management and procrastination (of course regarding my paper), so I’ll just leave a quick note on the next Conditioned QWing for tomorrow’s QW 1130 piece. The following 14 target words are taken from, again the Slate article titled, “The Extraordinary Syllabus of David Foster Wallace: What his lesson plans teach us about how to live.” I picked up and checked those words on the commuting train and enjoyed a half an hour-long mental jaunt.

high-flown, proximate, cripplingly, rococo, baffling, ingenious, whipping off paper (I swear I do not!), snide, regurgitate, reproach, brio, thwarted, bodega, tinker with

I’ll be back with my fully-swollen imagination. See you tomorrow.

(15 minutes / 167 words)

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Quick Write 112811 "Conditioned QWing 2”

As I announced in yesterday’ QW 1127 post, I’ll work on Conditioned QWing 2 with the flowing 20 target words taken from the Slate article titled, "Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong" 

copious, sit rapt, gesticulate, palpable, congregate, be emblazoned, flash and glitz, rag, have a field day, vie, tout, sprawling, wherewithal, stiletto, petrified, blushed and mascaraed, titter, rank-and-file, pore over, relay

At this right moment, I haven’t brainstormed about which words I’ll pick and how I’ll develop my discourse yet, but I’ll give it a try. This is exactly an impromptu essay.

I’m SITTING RAPT in front of my pc and gazing at my favorite fortyish-but-looking-so-young-and-beautiful actress, flawlessly BLUSHED AND MASCARED, posing on the red carpet with her killer smile. As she walks, here comes a PALPABLE shift in the atmosphere. Why is she so gorgeous, yet graceful? How can it be true? Look! She is GESTICULATING her gratitude to the audience. Oh, people have started CONREGATING to her. Hey, look at those STILLETOS she’s wearing. I can hardly imagine myself wearing brutally high-heeled lifties and walking gracefully past such a big crowd. The tabloids will HAVE A FIELD DAY tomorrow covering the FLASH AND GLITZ unfolding on that 20 meter-long reddish felt.

8 words and phrases included. Oh, that was less than half. Gee!

(25 minutes / 219 words)

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Quick Write 112711 "Thoughts on Conditioned QWing”

I gave it a try to “Conditioned QWing” in QW 1125 post, and found this writing practice fun as well as effective. The fun part is that I conjure up some an imaginary situation or character to include as many words as possible in one piece of writing. The effective part is that I need to understand how those target words are used in the context to begin with, and examine the ways I’m trying to use them. I’m not so sure if my word choice and usage in QW 1125 are correct, but I think it’s still better than just to check and memorize the meaning of unknown words while leaving them as my passive vocabulary. Plus even if I’ve misused a word, the error itself could be a good educational material for me. The thing is how I recognize my errors. But I also know from my learning experiences that something that I don’t fully understand will keep coming up to my consciousness and my “radar” to detect any hints or clues for the answer will be kept activated, so I don’t too much worry about it, actually. Here’re next 20 target words taken from the article “Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong” on slate that I’m reading aloud as my Ondoku practice.

copious, sit rapt, gesticulate, palpable, congregate, be emblazoned, flash and glitz, rag, have a field day, vie, tout, sprawling, wherewithal, stiletto, petrified, blushed and mascaraed, titter, rank-and-file, pore over, relay

Well, I can go into the actual QWing now, but it means that QW 1127 will be more than 400 or 500 words, which is no longer called “Quick Write”, so I’ll hold this fun thing until tomorrow. See you then.

(25 minutes / 289 words)

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効果的な Extensive Reading (多読)のスタイル

以前の記事「英語で書かれた文章が読めるスキル」で、「多読を効果的に行うには適切なガイダンスが必要と感じます」と書きました。この点について今日は少し考えてみたいと思います。ちなみに「多読 (Tadoku)」とは英語情報サイト・ 英語村 の定義によると「英語学習者にとっての多読とは、自分にとってやさしめの英語で書かれた本を大量に読むこと」だそうです。 日本多読学会 の英語表記が「Japan Extensive Reading Association」であることからも、日本語の「多読」と英語の「Extensive Reading」はほぼ同義と思ってよさそうです。TESOL (英語教授法)の世界では精読 (Intensive Reading / IR)からの揺り戻しなのか、 Extensive Reading (以下 ER) は広く推奨されている印象を受けます。私が学んでいる大学院のクラスメートには高校の英語の先生が多いのですが、彼らによると生徒に ER を課している学校もかなりあるようです。

私が今、大学院のコースペーパーを書くために読んでいる "Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing (Paul Nation, 2009) ” には ER に関してこんな記述があります。 "Extensive reading fits into the meaning-focused input and fluency development strands of a course, depending on the level of the books that learners read. When the books contain only a few unknown vocabulary and grammar items, extensive reading provides the conditions for meaning-focused input. Where the books are very easy ones with virtually no unknown items, extensive reading provides the conditions for fluency development. (p. 49)”

ここでぜひ注目したいのが、第2文の「未知語や知らない文法事項がほんのわずかならば(= only a few unknown vocabulary and grammar items)、ER は意味に焦点を当てたインプット(言語的な分析をするためではなく、内容を理解するために読むこと)となる "条件" を提供する」。あくまで「条件」なんですね。第3文では「知らない単語や文法事項がほぼなければ、ER は読みの流暢さ(=スラスラ読めるスキル)を伸ばす "条件" を提供する」。はい。またしても「条件」。言ってみれば、ER はあくまで言語学習の条件になるだけであって、少なくとも「ER = 学習効果がある」ではなさそうです。それ以前に ER が効果をあげる、つまり ER が「意味に焦点を当てたインプットになる、または読みの流暢さを伸ばす条件を提供する」には素材をかなり吟味しないといけないようです。 Nation によれば「未知語や知らない文法事項がほんのわずかか、ほぼゼロな素材」を選んで読まないといけないということです。どうやら Extensive Reading (多読)が成功する大切な条件のひとつは「素材選び」にあるようです。

同じ"Teaching ESL / EFL Reading and Writing (Paul Nation, 2009) ” では ER を言語学習プログラムに導入するには "careful planning and monitoring (綿密に計画し、経過を追う)" が必要だとし、その理由をこう述べています。 "First, reading requires considerable knowledge and skill. This knowledge includes recognizing the letters and words of the language, having a large vocabulary and substantial grammatical and textual knowledge, being able to bring knowledge of the world to the reading, and developing a degree of fluency with the reading skill. (p. 50)” 簡単に言うと「いきなりやってもヤケドするよ」ということでしょう。そしてこれに続く以下の記述にご注目下さい。 "Secondly, learning through extensive reading is largely incidental learning, that is, the learners’ attention in focused on the story not on items to learn. As s result, learning gains tend to be fragile and thus it is important to have quantity of input with substantial opportunities for vocabulary repetition. (p. 50)” ここでは「ER は incidental learning (偶発的学習・意識して習得するのではなく、たまたま接したものが後に習得される)である部分が大きいゆえ、ER を通して語彙を習得するにはかなり繰り返しその語彙に出会う必要がある」と言っています。"substantial opportunities” ってどのくらい?ってみなさん思いますよね。

さぁ、ここで衝撃のデータ発表です。Nation はこう続けます。"This quantity of input needs to be close to 500,000 running words per year which is equivalent to 25 graded readers a year,… This needs to continued over several years. (p. 50)” はい、確認です。ER に学習効果を見出すには「一年間に50万語、graded readers (難易度別英語読本)を25冊読む。それを数年続ける」だそうです。ええ、さすがにこれだけ読めばそりゃ読めるようになるでしょうよ、と突っ込みを入れたい衝動を抑えるのに必死です。我々のように日本にいて英語学習を継続的に行う人のうち、勉強に専念できる学生を除くと、これだけの時間と労力を投資できる人はかなり限られる気がします。英語学習といっても ER だけでなく他にも listening / speaking / writing の練習も必要ですし、社会人の英語学習者は限られた学習時間を有効に使う必要があります。もちろん年間50万語の ER を2~3年続けたら、語彙力も読みの流暢さも驚くほど伸びるでしょうし、それに挑戦する方はぜひ応援したい。でも現実にそれを達成できる人はどのくらいいるのでしょうか。少なくとも私にはかなり難しいタスクに思えます。

もし英語で書かれたものを読みながら語彙力アップを図りたいなら、やはり「精読 (Intensive Reading / IR)」の要素は欠かせないと思います。どんな背景や文脈の中でその単語が使われているかを意識しながら、その単語が登場する部分を繰り返して読む、腑に落ちない構文があったら構文を分析したり、知っていると思っている単語の意味を再度調べてみる、といった「精読」の過程なしに語彙が増えることはないと思います。私はこのようにしてボキャビルしていますが、やり方はいろいろあるはず。そして個人的な意見ですが、reading fluency (読みの流暢さ)と reading accuracy (読みの正確さ)は切っても切れない関係にあり、reading fluency だけを伸ばすのは不可能とは言わないまでも、効率が悪い学習計画であると思います。つまり reading accuracy を犠牲にする前提の ER で reading fluency のみを伸ばそうとするのは「あまり効率が良くない」ということです。Nation は ER の導入に関して "It is this important to make sure that there are repeated opportunities to meet the same vocabulary in reading, and these repeated opportunities should not be delayed too long. Teachers considering setting up an extensive reading programmme should understand very clearly that such a programme needs to involve large amounts of reading and needs to continue for a long time. If this happens, the results will be impressive. (p. 51)” と言っています。やはり ER を成功させるには「量の確保」が必須であり、読む量と同じ単語に出会う頻度が足りない場合、効果が出にくいと考えざるを得ません。

私が思う「効果的な Extensive Reading (多読)のスタイル」は以下の3つです。

1) やると決めたら1年間で50万語、graded readers (難易度別英語読本)にして25冊の ER を2~3年継続する。

2) ER は出来そうだけど量的に1)のレベルは無理、という場合には、ER として読んだ素材の一部を「精読」し、語彙力・構文理解力アップもメニューに加え、多角的に学習する。基本的な構文理解力が足りない場合は、中学校の文法を一通り復習する。

3) 1)も2)も無理、またはやりたくない人(個人的には自分が読んで面白い graded readers が25冊×3年分=75冊もあって、しかもそれをすべて借りるか買うかできると思えない)は、本来 ER が担うであろう「意味に焦点を当てたインプット」を得るために、オンラインで無料閲覧できる記事に挑戦する。ER として読んだ後に気に入った記事を精読すれば、語彙力アップにつながる。

The Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/
GAWKER http://blog.gawker.com/
The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
eHOW http://www.ehow.com/
Discover Fit and Health http://health.discovery.com/

Reference: I.S.P. Nation. Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing. (2009)




Quick Write 112511 "Conditioned QWing”

In yesterday’s QW 1124 post, I talked about my rapturousness on the rabbit blog post “JUST CALL ME FRIENDY” and picked up 51 words and phrases that I’d like to learn and to be able to use in my speaking and writing. In today’s QW 1125 piece, I’ll try Conditioned QWing for the very first time. What I mean by “Conditioned” is to write a QW piece using certain words and phrases of my choice. I’m not sure how it turns out, but I’m so sure that I can learn much from this writing practice while getting a basic grasp of how to use those target words.

What has been PLAGUING me these days is how NEBBISH and FUMBLY I can be when it comes to having discussions. I’d always TAKE THE PLUNGE to assert my statement in convincing manner, but I’d always end up BEMOANING with my REDUCTIVE rendition. As you may or may not know, MY M.O. is just keep trying INCESSANTLY until I can give myself “okay”. Even when I have no other choice but to be PERCHED outside the hot, exciting discussions, I’d carefully see the language used there and try to MILK the essence of how powerful assertion can be made without being condescending. Yes, I’ve been WAGing the CAMPAIGN of learning from skilled people.

Eventually, I used 11 words and phrases out of 51 candidates as follows (from QW1124):

ardent, take the plunge, plague, be perched on, glom onto, nebbish, shake the idea, my M.O., irrefutably, jib with, be banished to, bemoan, be flummoxed, yadda yadda yadda, douchbag, incessantly, perennial, vouch for, inexorably, trudge, oft, shrew, ellipse, super-swell, golly-gee, meat Chiclets, f****wad, dickrat, wifey, fumbly, slick, run-on-sentences, delirium, jaunty, deconstruction, squishy, wilty, wage a campaign, compelling, undercurrent, grapple with, be enamored, swagger, secret ***** hound, perversely, flinch, reductive, slob, milk, machination, squeamish

If you have any feedback on the above Conditioned QW piece, please post your candid views on QWF. I’d be more than happy to hear it and learn from it. It may sound contradictory, but it was very much fun writing with limitations. I think I’ll do this again soon.

(30 minutes / 285 words except the copied “51 candidates”)

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