Being Too Specific Can Be Bad

buy bed free 1 night stand

This is why authentic English is important. As well as proofreading and letting someone else proofread your work.

If they’d just left out the 1, which you know the lawyers made them put in this ad would have been fine. Or possibly this is the most effective ad campaign ever! They say that sex sells, after all.


How Not to Cheat

Dear students,

If you are going to cheat on the exam that I wrote and will grade, I do commend you on choosing the make-up exam. I wasn’t there to supervise it personally so I have no evidence that you cheated. Furthermore you had many chances to cheat since I didn’t know students would be given a make-up exam so the test you took was the exact same test all your other classmates took, and the same one we discussed the last day of class. Lots of chances to get right answers or find someone to feed you right answers.

However, you might have done a few things differently. For example, the essay was written in the same ink and the same handwriting on both tests. They are also word-for-word identical, including the spelling and grammar mistakes. They were in fact letter for letter, punctuation for punctuation, stroke for stroke, space for space identical.

That’s what tipped me off–not to mention the fact that you, dear student, whose test I graded first, got a 94%. Which was way above your level. You are not dumb, but you are slow. That’s ok. I’m a slow thinker too. You got a lot out of this class, but not enough to get the second highest mark in the class.

So you screwed up on the essay. No biggie. At least the rest of both exams were written in different handwritings and pens. But now that I am looking closely, I see that in fact they were both written in pencil first and then pen. Oh, and the answers are also all identical. Including the wrong answers. Even the spacing of answers. Both of you, unlike anyone else on the test, indented your short answers. On the error correction exercises, you both chose to mark the corrections on the original sentences, except for question 11 where you both wrote out the correct sentence instead. Everyone else did one or the other (and I accepted one or the other).

So the question is, who gets the 94% and who gets the 0? I’m guessing it’s a third party who gets the high grades and you both get 0s. I do feel bad for the one who showed up to every class, asked questions, participated and showed a lot of interest in the class. If I had control over the grading, the final exam would be only one component of your grade. But the other one, who rarely showed up to class, and never did the work, I don’t feel bad at all. I think you handed in one homework and it was perfect. Hmmm.

Thanks for spoiling what was overall a great class and a great project.


Mr. Burns

No, You May Not Touch Dic in Class

A touchscreen dictionary for a portable system like the Nintendo DS sounds like a really good idea. Unless you packaged it like this:

english marketing fail

Seriously which is worse? The choice of name or the image? I really hope no one asks me if they can use this in class because I will have to keep a straight face and I fear that will be impossible!

via English Raven Blog

Riddle Me This

One great source for warm ups in class is puzzles and riddles. And one source I really like for puzzles that are difficult and use a lot of language is the Car Talk Puzzler. If you aren’t familiar with Car Talk, it’s a radio show where people phone in with questions or problems about their cars and the hosts try to help them. But every week they also have a puzzler, a riddle or puzzle that listeners can try to solve. Some of them are mathematical and some of them require special knowledge of cars or engines. But a lot of them are great to set students on trying to solve, discuss and work out.

As Read on the Air is also a good source of dumb jokes, classic gags, and other silly comments that can be used as an opener for class, or filler, or just given out to students to make them laugh. Puns are an especially good way to teach students English, I find. Or this recent one on bad English signs.

By the way, I’m not getting any money from Car Talk for this, I just was reminded because last week’s puzzler was a good one for ESL students (except that it is highly googleable so it can only be used in class):

What is so special about the number 8,549,176,320? Answer here