the four functions of language

was reading Karl Popper’s Arthur Holly Compton Memorial Lecture at Washington University in St. Louis “Of Clouds and Clocks” delivered in April 1965. and towards the second half of the lecture under section XIV, he described the 4 functions of language, 2 lower (the common things in animal languages and human languages) and 2 higher (which defines human beings), namely,

“the expressive, the signalling, the descriptive, and the argumentative functions”

the lower two functions are always present in a higher function according to Popper.

clouds and clocks photoPhoto by Fotografik33 –

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?

language learning – motivation, discipline

saw this post on fb that caught my eyes:


ignore, or look beyond the first paragraph.

the writer of this little piece was talking about practising music/violin #ipresume. 我们当中有玩乐器的就会知道,“练习”这一回事可以是奇闷无比的,但是不练又难以达到所需的(成熟)技术,尤其是手指的灵活度、身体对节奏的敏感与反映。@PS 不知道打羽球是不是也这样?


motivation (cf. 兴趣) 是我们热衷的话题。这一小段文字不禁提醒了我——或许我们在维系学生的学习动机的当儿,不可忽略的是discipline——纪律这一块。纪律,从“教”的角度出发较常关联的是课室管理classroom mgmt “CM”. 若从“学习”的角度出发呢?语文学习可以培养哪些纪律呢?换句话说,学习的语文的当儿其实也在“学习”纪律。

写到这儿,不禁又联想到,“学习”一词,引起开始的“学”或许是motivation;接下来能不能持之以恒地“习”,discipline就占主导了?当然,这里我想的是主次的关系,不是二分; it’s not a dichotomy.

motivation – discipline is an inseparable duo. @斯安 Skilful Teacher 中是这样阐释的吗? 😛

time is like liquid in a bottle

time is like liquid in a bottle.
liquid is not too compressible (cf. air).
if a bottle is already filled with Coke to the brim, there’s no layman way to introduce (choose any favourite drink, e.g. Pepsi, 100-Plus, Kickapoo, 佳佳凉茶, whatever)


to introduce (insert favourite drink) into the bottle, some Coke must give way.
to introduce new practice into any teaching and learning context, some old practice must give way.

time is like liquid.
time is incompressible, and limited.

ict lesson, a problematic conception

“ict lesson”, or “ICT教学”,这样的一个名词, such a conception, is problematic.

if we have “ICT教学”,与之相对的是什么?“非ICT教学”?

如果ICT的使用可以随时”开”或”关”, 这或许就是为什么学校里还存在one-off设计ICT活动的现象了。

“ICT教学”, and “ict lesson”这个名词应该去除。停止使用,不再使用

理由很简单,21世纪的生活已脱离不开科技。要预备学生在未来的生活中不断自主学习,运用ICT学习的习惯和技能必须养成(这其实连带学生“如何学”的问题 (cf.教师如何教))。习惯的养成不是一朝一夕的事;技能更是多样,更需要长时间指导磨练。


clock time photo

acknowledgement: Alexas Fotos