Who cares?

When I posted my last post i realised it also went onto Facebook.  So I hid it from my page, presuming none of my FB friends have any interest in my research diary.  This made me think of a couple of things:

  1. Why am I making a public research diary? – apart from the fact that it gives me the chance to pretend I am studying when I am not.

What are the mechanics of this blog?  Who is it sharing with and who (if anyone) should it be sharing with.  Not FB but maybe linked in or Academia.com or one of those other long forgotten social networks I joined one time when I was job hunting.

Ok so I just went into settings and unconnected to everything.  No one is interested.  I am not even interested.   I figure if I ever say anything intelligent I will re-connect and share with the world.  For now I am happy just to pretend I am talking to someone.  Hmm someone once told me I am a talk to think personality type so I guess they could be right.

Back to the mechanics of my blog.  If my ultimate goal is to give historians some information about me in centuries to come, is a blog the best choice.  Is it even going to live as long as me?  I made a blog once before and now that I have stopped using it it seems to be archived or trashed or something.  What if I want to go back to my research diary in the future – and presumably that is why I am keeping it, because I will, and i am locked out or it is trashed or something?

  1.  Next problem – why is the numbered list button giving me 1 then 1.  I am not a mathematician but that doesn’t seem right.
  2. Main problembored

You may have already spotted.  I am not even interested.  Why am I not interested in my topic?  Well the first and most obvious answer is that I don’t have one.

So – just get a topic. Should be easy.  Pick a topic – any topic.

  I am trying to think of one but somehow I just can’t get inspired.  bored cat

What made it interesting about my last topic is that it was something unknown that I was trying to find out.  Really unknown.  I was amazed to find out how little was known.  It became like a treasure hunt searching through the literature to find something someone had found out about this topic.  And of course it was all in a field I knew nothing about.  The learning curve was steep.  I had to read cognitive psychology textbooks just to understand the basics in which to contextualize the research I was reading about.  I had to read normal psychology textbooks just to make informed decisions about the research techniques they were using.  Ultimately it was too hard for me (and my supervisors!) and that’s what made it interesting.

Clearly the trouble with my current topic is that I have not found a problem that needs to be solved.  OK so it is going to be something about

What do non native speakers need to earn in order to succeed in an English medium university?

Well I feel like we already know the answer to that don’t we.  There are already a million books that document that – (I am currently waiting for one to be delivered).

So what don’t we know? – What’s the problem here?

I am stuck on this at the moment.   Maybe it’s because I am spending more time searching for unhelpful pictures than considering my subject.  I don’t know.

What don’t we know about teaching English?  We have been doing it a long time now so we know  a lot.

Something to do with English in the Global Digital age?

The global stuff  has been done to death ; world English and all that.  Though there are still some possible gender issues to tease out there  – interesting in my current environment with males and females in the same class who can’t speak to each other.

The intersection between digital literacy and English Literacy? Could be interesting.  I suspect many ESL teachers have no idea what digital demands will be made on students in their degrees.  Nor do they have any interest in helping students develop the digital skills to support their study.  For example – to refer to my last post about Mendeley.  ESL teachers love to teach students how to reference.  Who actually knows how to reference?  I don’t.  I just hit insert reference and Mendeley does it.  If I need to check it I get out my APA style guide and check.   And seriously, how many marks are you going to lose if you put a comma wrong?  What to reference, when to reference yes they are important things to learn but how to reference is not. Yet no prep course I know offers training in referencing software, just the mechanics of how to set out a reference.  I think the bigger picture is lost.  Students will throw that article away when they pass that assignment.  Why not have them work on a topic relevant to their degree and store their annotated and tagged article.  When they are finally degree students they might even be lucky enough to need that article again – and there it is in their reference manager, already tagged and annotated.  They won’t have to try to figure out where all those commas go at 3:am the morning before the assignment is due.  But those that learnt how to do it by hand have lost their article and can’t even remember who wrote it so they haven’t even finished their assignment!

I use smartphones in the classroom a lot.  I think they are interesting and there are broader skills around digital literacy to b earnt from their use.  However some teachers are quite aggressively against the idea.  Maybe there is a question about ESL teachers attitudes to/understanding of digital literacy. Yeah – that sounds like a question that would have been done to death though.  

Anyway, these are perhaps more cases of me on my soapbox than genuine questions.

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