translation error phenomenon and the phenomenon behind

received this advertisement pamphlet by singtel selling 3G services in view of the impending 2G termination:

as a CL teacher, the choice of term in the blue bubble immediately caught my eyes – “赶忙”. in the same moment, i hypothesised it’s #ThankUGoogleTranslate problem. indeed, a quick check on Hurry, the term used in the EL bubble, yielded 赶忙 as the 3rd translation. anything in the top 3 must be good right? (:

posted the photo on fb, and we observed different reactions, with mostly sympathy of the error’s occurrence.

while such occurrence of error is not a first, nor will it be the last, i think we should look beyond the phenomenon itself, and ask WHY it occurs at all. the reasons could be many.

as a CL teacher (educator), my immediate question is how did these grown-ups learn CL when they were in schools? Were they taught to become a lifelong learner of CL, or were they taught to inherit the language (contents) from the teachers? to become a lifelong learner, it means that one is able to learn and to use the language when my teacher-guru is no longer around me. but, the over-reliance on Google Translate (or some other online translation tools) appears to suggest otherwise. it appears to me that these grown-ups are using Google Translate in place of the trust-me-all-guru who is no longer around. in short, they lack the know-how of learning the language in life beyond schools (and exams).

in terms of know-how, if a Science teacher is to teach students to think like a real-world scientist, what is a CL teacher teaching his/her students to think like? a writer, a poet, a linguist, or an exam-Acer/passer? the outcome goal is critical; with only the outcome goal clearly set can a teacher possibly design his/her lessons to enable students to learn to being and becoming the goal.

if you are a CL teacher reading this, what is your goal? what are you already doing to enable your students to learn, and to use the language lifelong? the transmission of large amount of knowledge has probably proven to be futile as the singtel pamphlet has revealed.


saw this post shared on fb this morning:


这里边所描述的现象其实如果我们有关注的话,是一点也不新鲜的。换句话说是已存在多时的。 just to quote some words:


着眼这些现象,我们在各自不同的岗位能做些什么、应该做些什么? #timeNotOnOurSide #未为晚也

learning theories for teachers

thanks to si hui for pinging me on variation theory, and i chanced upon this piece of gem created by professors at HKU:

what teachers should know about learning theories website

it’s many hours of reading and hard work to produce this piece of excellent quick reference for teachers. extending this idea, we could perhaps create something similar for SLA/CL teachers, bringing together learning sciences and SLA works and making it accessible to our CL teachers (:

learning abt TPACK

ps msged me to say that teachers in the school will be learning abt TPACK tmr (thus replacing our original session to discuss AfL). he wanted to design some post-learning activities in edmodo. i suggested asking teachers to post on “我觉得TPACK…”, and if they needed reference, he could refer teachers to read the Chinese article we have written 1+ year back. alternatively, go back to the original paper: Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.

hope the teachers have a good time “downloading” contents from the MKOs. 学习愉快 (:

flipped learning and language learning

翻转课堂一词流行好一阵了,孰不知翻转学习是其“衍进版”的概念。这两者有何不同?翻转学习又和华文、语文教学的关系是什么?这一篇东西其实是写来作引起讨论之用的。所以内容上还存在许多可进一步探讨、深究的地方 (:

created this piece of writing for the purpose of facilitating internal discussion. it’s not a fully polished piece of writing in the academic sense, especially from the theoretical perspectives of SLA. but well, the discussions on Feb 22 morning was good (but could be better) i thought (:

so here‘s the piece for your reading pleasure. 一共8页,中英文各4页: