does “teachers teach the way they learn” work for CL teachers?

observing our current recruitment strategy, we appear to be recruiting teachers who have learnt well in a certain subject/field to teach that subject. from here, we could assume that teachers recruited to teach a subject is a successful learner of that subject.

we often hear “teachers teach the way they learn” (citation needed), it follows that a physics teacher will teach the way(s) s/he’ve learnt physics well, and students could model those method(s) and learn well too. likewise, a maths teacher will teach the way(s) s/he’ve learnt maths well, and students could model those method(s) to learn maths well. for such ‘wholesale’ teaching of a successful way to another, it assumes that the learner profile of the teacher when s/he was a student is similar to that of the students s/he is teaching right now. but often, our students are unique individuals with diverse backgrounds. such ‘wholesale’ teaching may not work, not to mention pedagogies advance with time.

pedagogy aside, the ‘content’ is another consideration. is “physics” or “maths” 15-20 years ago the same “physics” or “maths” we are referring to today? in other words, are teachers learning the same (or more or less the same) thing as their students when they were students? the nature of content affects how learning takes place too. and this in turn affects the idea of how a subject could be learnt well. self-examination of a teacher is important to raise self-awareness of this issue.

if we were to look at “maths” 15-20 years ago, we could perhaps observe some differences in topics to b taught/learnt at different levels over time. while pedagogies may advance, content-wise “maths” is still largely “maths”.

if we were to examine a CL teacher, i assume a teacher is recruited to teach CL because s/he learns CL well. a CL classroom >15 years ago is largely a teacher-centered classroom, with classroom discourse patterns largely limited to simple IRE. assuming a teacher learns CL well back then, is it appropriate for him/her to “teach the way they learn”? pedagogy aside, is the learner profile of the teacher when s/he was a student similar to that of students s/he is teaching right now? based on the trends of increasing English-speaking homes (around 60% in 2010), there is a higher chance that a present CL teacher grew up in a Chinese-speaking home. in other words, these teachers are learning CL as a first language. and the chance of them teaching students learning CL as a second language is on the rise, and ever increasing. from a language learning point of view, learning CFL and CSL require two entirely different approaches. before we ask if teachers are teaching these two groups of learners with distinct pedagogies, a lower level question to reflect on is, are teachers aware that their “CL” is not “CL” (cf. Maths)? in other words, not many, if not most, CL teachers can “teach the way they learn”?

i believe teachers know “time has changed; things are different”, but i’ve not had the chance to conduct a research on the awareness at this lower level. compared to his/her Maths colleague, a CL teacher is almost not teaching “CL” as s/he have learnt in the past. yes, there would be CL teachers who grew up learning CSL (cf. curriculum’s definition of second language), but at present, lack of official statistics, my guess is such number is few.

hence, the importance of developing reflective practitioners so that a CL teacher may always be aware of the different issues to be considered as s/he goes about designing his/her learning activities for students. fundamentally, “teachers teach the way they learn” has a minimal chance of working for CL teachers.

thinking photo (photo credit: “Thank you” unsplash)

reflection on 12470-00004 facilitation

it’s been 3 weeks since the course started on 2/6. this is the first time Clinic is conducted with 3x face-to-face. an additional f2f session’s added in between based on our own reflection of the past runs, and participants’ feedback.

this time round, we have 7 participants who came. 1 MIA-ed, while 1, prior to the first f2f, was advised to sign up for the next run as the teacher couldn’t make it for this afternoon’s f2f, and the final f2f. during the first f2f, i learnt that another of the 7 belongs to this case. would have advised the teacher similarly if we were to know that in advance.

in the past 3 weeks, i observed 3-4 active participants. there were only 4 帖子B, and 3 weekly reflection piece from 2 participants. 2 reminder emails were sent, and only 2 echoes returned. not sure what happened to the rest. my guess is that our friends could have returned to PRC during this sch hols, and they faced difficulties accessing OPAL, ICON and/or fb due to the Great Firewall. will need to learn the real reasons behind if they were to turn up.

based on the 4 帖子B, i observed 3 of the participants were actively integrating ICT into their teaching and learning activities. except one, the awareness of conceptions of SDL appeared to include only incidental SDL along the SDL spectrum. consequently, the use of ICT to facilitate SDL reflects that understanding.

in the session later, my plan is to facilitate discussions to deepen the conceptions of SDL of participants. along with this, the affordance of ICT to facilitate SDL. would need to see how i could tie in what i have planned with their individual 5-10 minutes sharing.

looking forward to a fruitful session later. if time allows, we could even explore the design and use of rubrics as self-monitoring and self-management of learning cannot do without this important scaffold/tool.

sunrise photo(acknowledgement: jinsngjung)

automatic chinese transcription

transcribing voice recordings is a painful process for non-professional transcribers like me. if only one can pipe the recordings into a computer, and the transcription will be automatically done. wait, yes, it’s possible now, albeit with a relatively low-mid accuracy.

thanks to Si Hui who introduced to me someone’s attempt to convert recorded audio to text on a Mac that started my exploration in the Windows environment (:

the software that you will need to transcribe Chinese audio recordings into Chinese text:

1. Audacity (or any audio playback software that allows you to select the Output path)

2. VB-Audio Virtual Cable (or any other software that captures all the Sound Out, and directs it to any system software listening to any audio output; this is the Windows equivalent of MacOS’ Soundflower)

3. 讯飞输入法 iFly Input PC version (this is the software responsible for the Chinese audio-to-text conversion)

install the above software in any order. to get them working together, follow these steps:

1. load Audacity. open the voice recording. In the “Audacity Device Toolbar”, select Playback Device and set it to CABLE input (VB-Audio virtual cable).


2. load 讯飞输入法’s 语音悬浮窗 (find it within Start menu). click on the 语音悬浮窗 to set it to “点击说话” to pause recognition.


3. load any word processor (e.g. microsoft word, notepad).

4. go back to Audacity. begin Playback of voice recording.


5. click on 语音悬浮窗 to set it to “请说话” (voice recognition begins)


6. switch to word processor, and maintain it as focus (with blinking cursor in text edit area)

7. your automated transcription should now begin, as follows:

things to note:
1. 讯飞输入法 requires an ACTIVE internet connection to function.
2. 讯飞输入法 may from time to time stop by itself. i think this happens when the server is too busy. one will need to repeat step 5 to reactivate the audio-to-text conversion.
3. if you would like to use Windows 8.1’s built-in voice recognition software, pls go ahead. but i can safely advise, be prepared to get near-zero accuracy. maybe the to be released windoze 10’s version would be better 😛

once it’s done, it’s time listen to your original voice recording, and begin the cleaning up of the automatically generated text. while the recognition accuracy is still not high enough, this process has however sped up my rate of transcription significantly. your mileage may vary, but i hope it helps in your work too.

oh btw, my all-time favourite software to assist in transcription remains as VoiceWalker.

enjoy (: