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

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:

about learning …

chanced upon this 2005 document titled: About Learning prepared by the UK Learning Working Group (with Hargreaves as a chair/member). the document was released under creativecommons, so free access no copyrights issue **thumbs up**

the following excerpt found on pg. 7:

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.12.50

so what would the Family of Learning Practices be like in language learning, or SLA to be more specific? #Food4Thought

knowing the wrong answers

we were talking about assessment literacy last week. and i chanced upon this article via fb feed “Why Teachers Need To Know The Wrong Answers“. to be able to assess students’ learning and facilitate improvement, teachers need to know all the answers (and their corresponding Whys).

Screenshot 2016-04-18 08.30.26

some lines that caught my eyes include:
“‘Students are full of all kinds of knowledge, and they have explanations for everything.’ From birth, human beings are working hard to figure out the world around us.”

– and how often teachers are responsible for ‘killing’ this curiosity?

“‘cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts.'”

– very absolute terms here, very ‘science’ — right vs. wrong. what do we have that are clear cut right and wrong in CL? and how often are we able to tell why one is right and the other is wrong? how many CL teachers have acquired the necessary linguistics knowledge, or the awareness/ability to learn about them on-the-fly/on-the-job/on-demand?

“‘Teachers who find their kids’ ideas fascinating are just better teachers than teachers who find the subject matter fascinating,'”

– i am not sure how many teachers around me are actually FASCINATED by their students’ ideas. i suspect more ‘irritated’ & ‘frustrated’ than anything else.

“‘The next step is to give students exposure to the information and experience that will enable them to reason their way to the right answer.'”

– and how often teachers just tell students the “right” answers outright in the face? in the name of efficiency of learning?