Go the distance while distancing: Use your devices for Puzzle Parts & Pieces D, E, F: Apply Grammar, Listen & Speak with Understanding, and Read & Write Effectively
Whatever time has passed, there’s still little other news than our planet-wide pandemic. But articles like this are well into the analysis of probable social change in “future studies.” To paraphrase humanitarian media personalities, “After all this loss and sacrifice, we will surely emerge as better people in a better world.”
Here are our (adapted) extractions from some of the hopeful predictions in the above article and others like it:
¨ As “the personal remains dangerous” . . . We may continue to recoil from physical contact with other people and things, asking of any task “Is there a vital reason to do this face-to-face?” Even so, virtual (remote) connections may increase in direct proportion to bodily distancing—and we’ll do all that with disinfected, hygienic hands.
¨ The “new kind of patriotism” . . . Anticipated by social commentators will become recognition of or gratefulness toward those that save lives and maintain society—such as medical personnel, care givers, front-line workers, small business owners, and (service) employees—rather than or in addition to (former) military staff or fighters, who may now be given a rest along with the rest of us at risk.
¨ A “decline of polarization” . . . Between or among cultural / political / national / religious groups might finally begin after many decades of modernized destruction and hate. Though Utopian in concept, it could be replaced by a sense of (inter)national solidarity in the face of an invisible entity that no one (group of) human being(s) can be sanely blamed for. “The time for change is clearly ripening.”
¨ A “return to faith in serious experts” . . . Could mean a renewed “Rejuvenation of Rationality.” The Renaissance from the 14th Century to about 1700 encouraged and furthered the awakening of new ideas and inventions. Education, knowledge, awareness, and reason—especially in science, literature, and the arts—became desired achievements instead of obstacles to the exploitation of blind faith. Proven truth started to take preference over oblivious ignorance. So what do you think? Might conviction or action once again be based on enlightened, logical, analytical, intelligent, impartial, or realistic know-how, thought, and inquiry? Then we might be able to get back to the “serious business” of global human survival, replacing / reducing some of the frivolous competition designed to “win” a game, an election, a market segment, or another meaningless “prize?”
¨ Although “less individualism” . . . Could strengthen big-lie, personality-cult, military-enforced authoritarianism, the trend might go in the opposite direction. As “self-seeking market-based models for social organization fail,” people may (re)consider the (re-)distribution of resources—away from competitive, greedy, profit-driven speculation. Instead, assets can go toward maintenance of health, basic income, education, society, public well-being, lives, and livelihood.
¨ What might 'new forms of reform' mean? . . . As suggested in the above linked article, innovative ways to network or bolster one another are likely to emerge. Changes in health-care systems (and perhaps governments) have the potential to streamline family caregiving, person-to-person interdependence, and community involvement. A “fall of [electronic or digital] regulatory barriers” could move more of our lives online, resulting in fewer sedentary meetings, shorter waits for one-on-one appointments, and / or reduction of inefficient class sessions. Easier connections could create “a healthier digital lifestyle” that “breaks open a medium with human generosity and empathy.” They can provide “a boon to virtual reality.”
Are You Still There? (We’re Glad You Are.)
The question that pops up when one neglects to hang up a phone, close a video, or log out of a computer application applies here. Since you’re still interested in getting materials here and now, we still want to contribute to language & content teaching / learning, engaging activity, and / or “normal” work/life functioning.
You can “Use Your Devices for Episode II” to download material related to the next three “Puzzle Parts & Pieces: Apply Grammar, E. Listen & Speak with Understanding, & F. Read & Write Effectively.” These are circled in the diagram below.
D. Apply Grammar
In this (temporary!?!) time of “Active-Learning-Fun First,” here’s a 72-page immediately applicable resource titled Kinds of Common Nouns: Creative Activities & Ideas for Teaching & Learning Grammar & Phrasing.It’s jammed-full with the pedagogy of Countable (Singular & Plural) vs. Uncountable Nouns, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to teach / learn their distinctions and uses in real-life contexts. There are scaled-down copies of 104 typical, illustrated vocabulary items, classified in 52-Card Deck A-M as “Abstractions,” “Everyday Objects,” “Edibles,” Animals”—and in Deck N-Z as “Characteristics/Feelings,” “(Un)Countable Things,” “Subjects/Activities,” “Places.”
And as a distinctive, one-of-its-kind grammar-vocabulary bonus, here’s the 52-Card Kinds of Common Deck A-M itself, destined for instant download, printing out single- or two-sided, and cutting apart (nine to a page). As expected, the Kinds of Common Nouns Activity & Idea Book (linked above & below) contains a description of the Deck with instructions for use as “Flash Cards” and in “Classifying Nouns,” “Creating Sentences,” and “Playing Card Games.”
In the book come (reproducible or collectible) examples of other versatile, instructional noun-grammar materials like (enlargeable) “Pictures of Cluttered Environments.” Activities Five, Six, Seven make use of (tangible & illustrated) items in physical environments, while Activities Eight, Nine, Ten describe “Categorizing Games,” “Memory & Association Chains,” and “Follow-Up Testing.” The culminating “Activity Eleven” addresses the creation of “Count & Non-Count Noun Compositions & Mini-Speeches,” with ideas for—and samples of— particularly suitable writing/speaking topics. Reference Lists with Notes + Addenda complete this uniquely constructive (Self-) Training & (Grammar / Content) Teaching Manual.
Of course, there’s no end to segments and full sets of materials facilitating grammar acquisition—available as tangible or virtual (series of) printed books, units, chapters, lessons, exercises, activities, and games. For (attempts at) the best of these, go to the WorkLife English Website, Puzzle Piece D: Apply Grammar.
Listen & Speak with Understanding
So now is it time to talk? Physical distancing hasn’t much limited people’s ability to articulate English (or other languages), speak or converse on our phones or other devices, and perceive / understand what others have to convey. Even so, it has given us more time and space to go beyond use of our mouths and ears in what used to or may still be considered “Oral Language Skills.”
Here on 28 half-sized pages is the one-of-its-type resource Meanings of Body Language: Ideas & Materials for Teaching & Learning Non-Verbal Communication Through Facial Expressions, Body Movements, & Gestures, all of which can be accessed (electronically / digitally and) at a safe physical distance from one another. This How-to-Manual facilitates “(Oral-) Language-Skills-Instruction-With-or-Without-Words.” It has illustrated sections on “General Features of Body Language,” “Universal Expressions of Emotion,” “Categorizing, Identifying, & Comparing,” “Positive, Negative, or Neutral?” “Communicating Non-Verbal Meaning Quickly,” and other time-tested topics related to getting together while staying apart. It ends with reproducible handouts of personally expressive photos from Meanings of Body Language Card Decks A-M + N-Z. Get some needed bodily action by grabbing this download now.
Though not so common as texts on Phonics & Spelling, Vocabulary, or Grammar, there areprinted / online books that purport to systematically “teach” or “improve” language-learners’ Oral Language Skills (Pronunciation/Enunciation, Speaking/Conversing, and/orListening Comprehension). As a traditional, low-tech offering, here’s the first half of WorkLife English Listening/Speaking 2: English in Everyday Life, Instructor’s Manual. Originally called “The ETC Program," it contains an updated cover, Front Matter, Tables of Contents, Instructions for Use of the Text, 59 Text Pages, and corresponding Answer Key sections. It ends with Tapescript segments relevant to its Intro & Chapters 1-5.
Audio for the scriptis available online at the WorkLife English Website, Puzzle Piece E: Listen & Speak with Understanding. So are (the Instructor’s Manuals for) WorkLife English Listening/Speaking 3: An Immigration Story, WorkLife English Listening/Speaking 4: Cross-Cultural Communication; WorkLife English Listening/Speaking 5: Language & Culture in Depth; and WorkLife English Listening/Speaking 6: Issues & Answers.
There’s also a number of inventive multi-layered texts + ancillaries for Pronunciation & Speech instruction: Beginners Before Speaking with Pronunciation Principles—& More; Before Speaking + Pronunciation Practice; Speaking + Accent Activities. These are supplemented by Activity & Idea Books with Card Decks for oral-language improvement: Open-Ended Questions for Social Conversation and Talking About Anything.
Read & Write Effectively
Except in integrated competency–based series that coordinate grammar topics + vocabulary (phrasing) with oral & written language skills, most “reading” is taught separately from “writing.” At lower proficiency levels or in elementary schools, the former may be mostly “decoding” or word recognition—while the latter may teach letter formation, copying, sentence construction, or typewriting. At academic levels, “reading” could mean “comprehension strategies” akin to study skills; its counterpart might refer to “composition” or “writing-as-a-process.”
These 14 colorful full-sized pages illustrate how what we view with our eyes (while or instead of “figuring out printed text”) may be taking over in the electronic/digital world of technology and media. They display compelling, thought-provoking photos, paintings, drawings, cartoons, designs, and more. Text users learn how to identify and interpret these images. Exercises lead to understanding of their “visual meaning.”
Pedagogical Sidebars and phrase/sentence cues to match or choose from assist both new and experienced “readers” in getting the points of meaningful picture titles, captions, and speech/thought in balloons or bubbles.
So that the chapter becomes “self-instructional,” a 15-page illustrated Answer Key, supplying not only correct answers but also detailed background information + interpretations, has been added to the computer file. Be among the first to try out this bright and innovative approach to “understanding what you read” while preparing to “write what you mean.”
And if you go to the Work/Life English website Puzzle Piece F: Read & Write Effectively, you'll find the remainding Parts & Pieces that comprise Whta's the Point? A Reading-Skills Worktext, Book One: Beginning to Read for Meaning as well as its sequel What’s the Point? A Reading-Skills Worktext, Book Two: Learning to Learn from Real Reading. These will eventually be collected into lettered/numbered files that include relevant Answer Key sections, adapting them for independent learning without unnecessary group gatherings.
And there are also the texts + ancillaries WorkLife English Reading/Writing 2: English in Everyday Life; WorkLife English Reading/Writing 3: An Immigration Story, WorkLife English Reading/Writing 4: Cross-Cultural Communication; WorkLife English Reading/Writing 5: Language & Culture in Depth; and WorkLife English Reading/Writing 6: Issues & Answers. Since these volumes don’t depend on physical collaboration or audio, the Answer Keys in the Instructor’s Manuals corresponding to these student texts make them especially usable for self-teaching/learning.
These cover the subject matter of “Starting Out,” “Getting There,” “Problems & Solutions,” “Moving,” “Food & Things,” and “The Family.” which easily coordinate in content, grammar, and vocabulary to these parallel texts and ancillaries: WorkLife English Grammar 2; WorkLife English Listening / Speaking 2: English in Everyday Life. (The first half of the latter’s Instructor’s Manual / Answer Key / Tapescript is downloadable above.)
The first half of WorkLife English Reading/Writing 2: English in Everyday Life, Instructor’s Manual continues with Instructions for Use of the Text for (Self-) Teachers + Answer Key segments for material for the first 75 pages of the student book. It ends with Reading/Writing Progress Tests with Answers: Introduction + Chapters 1-5.
Because WLE R/W 2 “teaches” fundamental written skillsbased on (Adult) Competency Acquisition for Everyday Life, its reading material tends to be “simulated realia,” such as simplified signs, directories; directives; maps + street directions, calendars, ads, bulletins, menus, bills, and the like. Its writing practice begins with alphabet (block & cursive) letters & numbers; writing names / words of personal info; fill-in phonics / spelling exercises; sentences / paragraphs to edit with capital letters / punctuation marks; blanks to fill in with words from visuals; and forms, messages, notices, or other segments to complete with given vocabulary according to models. In plain English, practical material predominates.
For an abundance of connected text to read for meaning, interpretation, and impact (perhaps even help in comprehension or generating writings of your own), you can consult not only the WorkLife English Website, Puzzle Piece F: Read & Write Effectively, but also the verbiage printed on paper and other concrete materials, on screen, and just about everywhere else we look.
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About Work/Life English For over 35 years, Work/Life English has been dedicated to improving the lives of English language learners. We offer a comprehensive range of fun, effective English language improvement lessons and activities to help adult education ESL educators successfully engage their English language students and improve their English competencies, leading to a host of positive effects in students’ professional and personal lives. Better English, Better Life. For more information, visit www.worklifeenglish.com.