World English: ACCENTuate the positive


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  • This will be up when student are coming in. It doesn’t need to be included in the presentation.
  • An important part o f that world class education comes from interacting with fellow students, professors and TAs from all over the world.
  • There are three questions. They’re all multiple choice. You can answer by raising your hand
  • Those who said B are correct. Often you’ll have a lecture a couple of times a week by your professor combined with discussion sections or labs taught by a teaching assistant. In this way you get a chance to learn in a smaller setting from young scholars who know what it’s like to also be a student.
  • If you said B you’re right again! Teaching assistants are graduate students from top schools all over the world. They’re here working on their doctoral degrees, engaged in research and teaching undergraduate classes. They’re among the best and brightest around the world.
  • international TAs come from countries all over the world. Many are from Asia. Others from Africa, Europe the Middle East and the Americas.
  • This time if you said C you’d be right. Many iTAs have studied English since kindergarten. Many come from countries where English is the official language. Now ,it’s not exactly the same sounding English as many of us speak here. All of the Englishes (and by the way linguists talk about “world Englishes” not just English as a single entity.) are a little different. Just as accents and slang vary in the US and many Minnesotans have their very own specific sound they also vary from country to country. English sounds different in England, Scotland, South Africa, India, Australia, Singapore) than it does here. So your iTAs are well schooled in English and speak it in a somewhat different way than you do.
  • So here’s a story of an experiment conducted at another university by a linguist. Students were randomly assigned to one of two classrooms. In each room students heard a brief physics presentation while looking at a picture of the instructor.
  • After the presentation students were asked a few comprehension questions and a few questions about their ratings of the instructor. And what happened? Students in Group A had higher scores on the questions than the Students in Group B. Both groups however rated their instructors as equally good teachers. What happened? Have we got a problem here? Well, here’s another piece of information we need…..
  • The real speaker of the taped lecture was this person – someone from Ohio US. It was not the person show to Group A or the person shown to Group B. The speaker to both groups was the same person!
  • If you expect to have trouble comprehending, you probably will. If you don’t presume you will have trouble, you probably won’t.
  • A couple of weeks
  • Research shows you adjust after over time to your TAs accent….
  • You need global skills; the U’g goal is to help you to acquire them
  • World English: ACCENTuate the positive

    1. 1. ACCENT UATE THE POSITIVE! <ul><li>World English as a Component of World Class Education </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>“… future workers seeking careers in business, government, health care, law enforcement, and a wide variety of other jobs will all require global knowledge and skills.” </li></ul><ul><li>Michael H. Levine (Progressive Policy Institute) </li></ul><ul><li>Putting the World into our classrooms: </li></ul><ul><li>A new Vision for 21 st Century Education. April 2005 </li></ul>
    3. 3. An important part of World Class Education…
    4. 4. So let’s get started with… <ul><li>A pop quiz! </li></ul>
    5. 5. Question One: <ul><li>Many science or math classes will: </li></ul><ul><li>A) have a daily lecture from the professor </li></ul><ul><li>B) be taught by both the professor and a </li></ul><ul><li>teaching assistant (TA) </li></ul><ul><li>C) be taught only by a TA </li></ul>
    6. 6. Question Two: <ul><li>international Teaching Assistants: </li></ul><ul><li>A) received their bachelor’s degrees from the U of MN </li></ul><ul><li>B) are top scholars from all over the world </li></ul><ul><li>C) have completed all their PhD classes </li></ul>
    7. 7. Some of your “world English” speaking iTAs Korea
    8. 8. Question Three: <ul><li>A typical international TA has studied English: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A) in a two year after- school program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>B) for four years in high school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C) for more than seven years </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. What does this mean for you? <ul><li>You’ll work with TAs who “know their stuff” and understand what it’s like to be a student </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll be increasing your global competence – something your future employers will expect </li></ul>
    10. 10. Will accent be an issue? <ul><li>Let’s look at a study that investigated this topic…. </li></ul>
    11. 11. The tale of two physics lectures <ul><li>Group A </li></ul><ul><li>Group B </li></ul>
    12. 12. What happened ??? <ul><li>Group A </li></ul><ul><li>But here’s another piece of information we need ….. </li></ul><ul><li>Group B </li></ul>
    13. 13. Both groups of students were… <ul><li>listening to the same speaker! </li></ul>
    14. 14. So, what does this mean? <ul><li>Expectation influences perception! </li></ul>
    15. 15. What then can you expect from iTAs? <ul><li>You CAN expect: </li></ul><ul><li>Your international TA has passed two or more English language exams in order to be your TA. </li></ul>
    16. 16. You can expect <ul><li>you will adjust to a new accent </li></ul><ul><li>your future employers will be very glad you have this skill. </li></ul>
    17. 17. What about in classes? <ul><li>You can get used to a new accent </li></ul><ul><li>iTAs will often supplement their speaking by writing key words on the board </li></ul>
    18. 18. What about in classes? <ul><li>You can speed up your understanding and </li></ul><ul><li>learning from an iTA by being prepared for </li></ul><ul><li>class and being familiar with the material. As </li></ul><ul><li>in any class, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask questions (or for repeats) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Go to office hours </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. A world class education! <ul><li>Plan to be actively involved in your class </li></ul><ul><li>Give yourself some time to adjust </li></ul><ul><li>Know that resources are available </li></ul><ul><li>Get ready to be a global citizen! </li></ul>