Category Archives: Language

What Does it Mean to Identify as Nonbinary?

“As nonbinary teenagers push for driver’s licenses that reflect their identity, a fraught debate over the nature of gender has arrived in the nation’s statehouses.” A. Harmon, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- google

 

Excerpt:Which Box Do You Check? Some States Are Offering a Nonbinary Option By Amy Harmon, The NYT

“Ever since El Martinez started asking to be called by the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them” in the ninth grade, they have fielded skepticism in a variety of forms and from a multitude of sources about what it means to identify as nonbinary.

El Martinez, 17, at home in Massachusetts. Credit Tony Luong for The New York Times

There are faculty advisers on El’s theater crew who balk at using “they” for one person; classmates at El’s public school on the outskirts of Boston who insist El can’t be “multiple people”; and commenters on El’s social media feeds who dismiss nonbinary gender identities like androgyne (a combination of masculine and feminine), agender (the absence of gender) and gender-fluid (moving between genders) as lacking a basis in biology. Even for El’s supportive parents, conceiving of gender as a multidimensional sprawl has not been so easy to grasp. Nor has El’s suggestion that everyone state their pronouns gained much traction.

So last summer, when the Massachusetts State Legislature became one of the first in the nation to consider a bill to add an ‘X’ option for nonbinary genders to the ‘M’ and ‘F’ on the state driver’s license, El, 17, was less surprised than some at the maneuver that effectively killed it.

Beyond the catchall ‘X,’ Representative James J. Lyons Jr. (he/him), a Republican, had proposed that the bill should be amended to offer drivers 29 other gender options, including pangender, two-spirit  and genderqueer. Rather than open the requisite debate on each term, leaders of the Democratic-controlled House shelved the measure.

He articulated an anxiety that many people, even folks from the left, have: that there’s this slippery slope of identity, and ‘Where will it stop?’ said Ev Evnen (they/them), director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, which is championing a new version of the bill…‘Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated,’ said Mx. Evnen, 31, who uses a gender-neutral courtesy title. ‘It’s also threatening to an order a lot of people have learned how to navigate.’

The wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation has prompted debate over whether extending legal recognition to a category of people still unknown to many Americans could undermine support for other groups vulnerable to discrimination…

Some of the antipathy toward nonbinary identities may reflect a generational divide. Over a third of Americans now in their teens and early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, according to a recent survey by Pew Research — more than people in their later 20s and 30s, double the number of those in their 40s, and triple the number of those in their 50s and 60s.

image- Detroit Free Press

‘Possibly it’s an age issue,’ said Jocelyn Doane (she/her), 39, a longtime advocate for progressive causes in Hawaii who struggled with whether to support the gender-neutral license bill in her state. ‘I want to respect their challenges, but the use of ‘their’ for a single person is making me crazy.’

Objections to the bills have also been raised by social conservatives, like State Senator J.B. Jennings (he/him) of Maryland, who made a distinction in public comments between transgender people who transition from male to female or vice versa, and those who identify as nonbinary.

image- The Daily Beast

‘They’re either going one way or the other, they’re not stuck in the middle,’ he said. Mr. Jennings suggested that the license would be inaccurate if it listed a gender other than male or female…other opponents, like the Women’s Liberation Front, an advocacy group that has submitted testimony on so-called ‘Gender X’ bills in several states, argue that bolstering the nonbinary category will harm people who face discrimination and violence precisely because they are born with female anatomy…Proponents of adding a gender-neutral option to state identification documents say it would remove a form of discrimination against nonbinary people by providing them with the means to carry identification that matches their identity.

The gender-neutral designation option on a Maine driver’s license. Credit Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, via Associated Press

Perhaps also because some critical mass has been reached, nine state motor vehicles bureaus have recently added the ‘X’ option to driver’s licenses without involving the legislature…Several other jurisdictions, including New York City, Oregon, New Jersey and New Mexico, have also begun to allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate to ‘X.’

The nation’s major airlines have announced that they will allow passengers to identify as an ‘undisclosed’ or ‘unspecified’ gender when booking tickets…Nonbinary teens themselves have also petitioned for a third gender on state identity documents. Ed Luiggi (they/them), 17, president of an after-school club for gender nonconforming students, skipped school to testify before the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis earlier this year.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The faculty advisers on El’s theater crew balk at using ‘they’ for one person.
  2. Commenters on El’s social media feeds dismiss nonbinary gender identities.
  3. Critics say that it  can be disorienting to lose the gendered cues like pronouns and  names.
  4. Beyond ‘X’ there are 29 other gender options.
  5. Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated.
  6. There is a  wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation.
  7. Some of the antipathy toward nonbinary identities may reflect a generational divide.
  8. Several nonbinary teenagers claimed that their gender identity was a visceral feeling.
  9. Nonbinary gender identity could provoke social ostracism.
  10. Many young people have transitioned from one binary gender to the other. 

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Scholars say that nonbinary genders has existed across history and cultures.
  2. Massachusetts was the first to consider a bill for the ‘X’ option.
  3. He articulated an anxiety that many people have.

II

  1. Their requests for recognition have been met with reservations.
  2. Elected officials has listened to tutorials on gender identity.
  3. These issues  of gender identity are foreign to many people.

III

  1. Over a third of teens knows someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.
  2. Many hope it will lend legitimacy to liberate people of all genders.
  3. Gender identity was a visceral feeling, they said, not a political choice.

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

A state agency in ___that tracks the ___of ___took the opposite tack…The state does not have a ___interest in identifying ___based on their___, the agency’s testimony asserted. That ___did not advance, said its sponsor, State Senator Karl Rhoads probably because ___law ___air travelers to carry identification that includes a gender marker, and in the island state, the only way to get anywhere is flying.

WORD LIST:  requires, residents, status, Hawaii,   women, legitimate,    gender, bill, federal,

III Post Reading

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

Wikipedia defines non-binary as the following:

“Non-binary, also known as genderqueer, is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity.[1] Non-binary people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.”

Here is a Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams

After carefully reviewing the terms answer the following:

  1. Which of the terms would you say describes you? If none are on the list then how do you identify your gender?
  2. Are there any terms on the list you do not understand? Share your responses with the class.
  3. In your opinion is it necessary to carry an ID that reflects  a person’s gender identity? Provide reasons for your answers.
  4. The article states, The wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation has prompted debate over whether extending legal recognition to a category of people still unknown to many Americans could undermine support for other groups vulnerable to discrimination.” Which groups of people are discriminated against? Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Provide reasons for your answers.
  5. Make a list of questions you would like to ask a nonbinary person. Share your questions with the class.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

The Power Of Words

“Do you love words? Not just speaking them… But the actual words themselves? Do you delight in certain words? Think others are ugly? Do you believe that words have the power to wound, move — even to heal?” J. Engle, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Emily Spear, who is Kiowa and Cheyenne, at a Kiowa Pow Wow in Oklahoma. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Excerpt: The Sacred Spell of Words By  Jeremy Engle, The New York Times

“In The Sacred Spell of Words, N. Scott Momaday, an author, poet and playwright, writes:

“Words are powerful. As a writer, my experience tells me that nothing is more powerful. Language, after all, is made of words.

Words are conceptual symbols; they have denotative and connotative properties. The word ‘power’ denotes force, physical strength, resistance. But it connotes something more subtle: persuasion, suggestion, inspiration, security.

Consider the words of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”:

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

We might be hard pressed to find words more charged with power to incite, to inflame, to affect violence and destruction. But there are, of course, other expressions of power in words.They can be especially personal. They can touch our sensibilities in different and individual ways, perhaps because they have different associations for us. The word ‘Holocaust’ frightens me because survivors of the Nazi death camps have told me of their suffering. Notwithstanding, the word is intrinsically powerful and disturbing.

The word ‘child’ delights me; the word ‘love’ confounds me; the word ‘God’ mystifies me. I have lived my life under the spell of words; they have empowered my mind…It may be that the essential power of language is realized by word-of-mouth expression. The oral tradition is inestimably older than writing, and it requires that we take words more seriously. One must not waste words. He must speak responsibly, he must listen carefully, and he must remember what is said.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Words are conceptual symbols.
  2. The word ‘power’ denotes force.
  3. The word also connotes something more subtle: persuasion.
  4. The word ‘power’  can also mean resistance.
  5. We might be hard pressed to find words more charged with power to incite.
  6. The word Holocaust frightens most people.
  7. Some words are intrinsically powerful and disturbing.
  8. Some words confound me.
  9. Words can nourish my soul.
  10. The oral tradition is inestimably older than writing.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Words are powerful.
  2. They can be especially personal.
  3. They can touched our sensibilities.

II

  1. The word God mystifies me.
  2. I have lived my life under the spell of words.
  3. There are expression of power in words.

III

  1. Words is sacred.
  2. They nourished my soul.
  3. One must not waste words.

 

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

When I was first able to___ my way in___ my ___American father, a___ of the ___tribe, told me stories from the ___oral tradition. They ___me. They ___and thrilled me. They nourished my___.

WORD LIST:  imagination, member,  transported,  Kiowa, make, Kiowa,  language,  Native,  fascinated,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you agree with  the author that words are power?  Explain why or why not. Provide an example.
  2. What is your favorite word?  Why?
  3. If you speak more than one language, which one can you use more effectively in writing and speaking?
  4. With your group provide a list of words that you feel have power, a list of words that make you laugh, and a list of words that make you sad or angry. Share your responses with the class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language | Tags:

Searching For The Perfect Accent In The U.S.? There’s No Such Thing!

“I have an accent. So do you. I am an immigrant who has spent nearly as much time in the United States as I have in my home country, Spain. I am also the director of Dartmouth’s language programs in Spanish and Portuguese. Both facts explain, but only partly, why I feel a special fondness for the FX drama The Americans, in which Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys play Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, a husband-and-wife team of undercover K.G.B. agents living in suburban Washington…What interests me as a linguist is that the Jenningses are, as the pilot tells us, ‘supersecret spies  who ‘speak better English than we do.’ Even their neighbor, an F.B.I. agent on the counterintelligence beat, suspects nothing.” R. R. Agudo, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo-alamy

Excerpt: Everyone Has An Accent, by Roberto R. Agudo, The New York Times

“Living as I do, deeply immersed in the work of teaching and learning second languages, it was fun to watch a TV series in which the main characters’ aptitude for them was so central to the plot. Nonetheless, the premise that you can speak a language without any accent at all is a loaded one. You can’t actually do this.

Worse, when we fetishize certain accents and disdain others, it can lead to real discrimination in job interviews, performance evaluations and access to housing, to name just a few of the areas where having or not having a certain accent has profound consequences. Too often, at the hospital or the bank, in the office or at a restaurant — even in the classroom — we embrace the idea that there is a right way for our words to sound and that the perfect accent is one that is not just inaudible, but also invisible.

Image-uk-edu.co.kr

There is no such thing as perfect, neutral or unaccented English — or Spanish, for that matter, or any other language. To say that someone does not have an accent is as believable as saying that someone does not have any facial features… The standard accent is not necessarily the same as the highest-status accent. It is simply the dominant accent, the one you are most likely to hear in the media, the one that is considered neutral. Such judgments are purely social — to linguists, the distinctions are arbitrary. However, the notion of the neutral, perfect accent is so pervasive that speakers with stigmatized accents often internalize the prejudice they face. The recent re-evaluation of the ‘Simpsons’ character Apu provides an important example of how the media and popular culture use accents to make easy — and uneasy — jokes.

When you are learning a language, a marked accent is usually also accompanied by other features, like limited vocabulary or grammatical mistakes. In the classroom, we understand that this is a normal stage in the development of proficiency.

It’s certainly true that a marked accent can get in the way of making yourself understood. E.S.L. learners and others are well advised to work on their pronunciation… English is a global language with many native and nonnative varieties. Worldwide, nonnative speakers of English outnumber natives by a ratio of three to one. Even in the United States, which has the largest population of native English speakers, there are, according to one estimate, nearly 50 million speakers of English as a second language.  What does it even mean to sound native when so many English speakers are second-language speakers? Unless you are an embedded spy like the Jenningses, it is counterproductive to hold nativelike pronunciation as the bar you have to clear.

Accent by itself is a shallow measure of language proficiency, the linguistic equivalent of judging people by their looks. Instead, we should become aware of our linguistic biases and learn to listen more deeply before forming judgments.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Lesson Plan Everyone Has An Accent

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Some people fetishize certain accents.
  2. Other people  disdain many accents.
  3. This behavior can lead to discrimination.
  4. The author is an immigrant.
  5. The author is deeply immersed in teaching second languages.
  6. The premise that you can speak a language without any accent at all is a loaded one.
  7. Having certain accents can have profound consequences.
  8. We often embrace the idea that there is a right way for our words to sound.
  9. Many feel that the perfect accent is one that is inaudible.
  10. There is no such thing as perfect, neutral or unaccented English.

Word chart: Learnnc.org

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

If you look at the___ from a ___point of view, having no ___is plainly impossible. An___is simply a way of ___shaped by a combination of ___ social class, education, ethnicity and first language. I have one; you have one; ___has one.

WORD LIST: sociolinguistic ,everybody, accent, question, geography, speaking, accent,

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

To say/said that someone does knot/not have an ascent/accent is as believable as saying/say that someone does not/no have any facial features. We no/know this, but even so, at a time when the percentage of foreign-born  residents in the United States is at its highest point in a centaur/century, the distinction/distinct between ‘native’ and ‘nonnative’ has grown vicious/vivacious, and it is worth reminding ourselves of it again and again: No one speak/speaks without an accent.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer and discuss the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why are you studying English? (e.g., school, job or social  reasons).
  2. Do you think accents are important in language study? Explain why?
  3. When studying English in class do you find it easy to understand your teacher?
  4. Do you understand  native English speakers outside of the classroom?
  5. The author states, It’s certainly true that a marked accent can get in the way of making yourself understood. E.S.L. learners and others are well advised to work on their pronunciation…  My point is not that we need to forget the aim of easily comprehensible communication — obviously, that remains the goal. But we do need to set aside the illusion that there is a single true and authentic way to speak.” First, explain the statement in your own words. Next, do you agree or disagree with the statement? Why or why not?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language | Tags:

Um, Uh, Huh Could Be Keys To Understanding Human Language

“Has anyone — a parent, teacher, or boss — told you to purge the words ‘um’ and ‘uh’ from your conversation? When these words creep into our narrative as we tell a story at home, school, or work, it’s natural to feel that we can do better with our speech fluency. In How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conversation, hitting shelves Tuesday, University of Sydney linguist Nick Enfield rescues those words (and everyone who uses them) from censure.” B. J. King, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image-tesolcourse.edu.vn

Excerpt: Um, Uh, Huh? Are These Words Clues To Understanding Human Language? By Barbara J. King, NPR

“In so doing, he exposes the fascinating and intricate workings of what he calls the human conversation machine: ‘a set of powerful social and interpretive abilities of individuals in tandem with a set of features of communicative situations — such as the unstoppable passage of time — that puts constraints on how we talk.’

Using cross-cultural data, Enfield shows how rapid is the turn-taking aspect of human conversation. Across 10 languages (from Italy, Namibia, Mexico, Laos, Denmark, Korea, the U.S., the Netherlands, Japan and Papua New Guinea) the rule is clear: Speakers offer an answer to a question posed to them within 207 milliseconds, on average. The range goes from 7 milliseconds in Japanese to close to a half-second in Danish.

Based on speech cues, we anticipate rather than wait for the moment when it’s our turn to speak. We risk losing our turn, or seeming hesitant, if we don’t jump right into the flow. What happens, though, if we’re experiencing some kind of processing delay as we ready ourselves to speak? Perhaps we can’t think of the right term, or we’re struggling to process an unfamiliar word we just heard. After 600 milliseconds, “social attribution” kicks in — that is, the delay becomes a matter of concern for the community of speakers. We may, at this point, utter ‘um’ or  ‘uh’ as a signal that we are working toward producing speech.

The evidence shows we also may use these words intentionally as buffers before offering what are called dispreferred responses, or answers our conversation partners may not welcome. Let’s say a friend asks you to an event that don’t wish to attend, and you’re about to decline. If you slightly delay that bad news by starting out with ‘uh’ or ‘um,’ that’s the conversation machine at work.

Enfield’s overall point here is that these tiny words, far from just being ‘noise’ for scholars to ignore, deserve linguistic study. ‘Huh?’ plays a key role, too, because, judging again from cross-cultural research, it is a human linguistic universal. When we ask ‘Huh?’ in conversation, it can be a mark of cooperation rather than confusion a point that Enfield elaborated on via email (Email responses in this post have been edited for length.):

‘It’s true that ‘Huh?’ can be a sign of confusion. On the other hand, ‘Huh?’ does much more than simply signal a problem. The usual effect of ‘Huh?’ is to get the other person to repeat, confirm, or rephrase what they just said. This is only possible in the highly cooperative context of conversation.’

In How We Talk, Enfield aims to set apart our behavior and language from the behavior and communication of all other animals.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups and ask them to think about what they already know about  human language.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

G. Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. We were taught to purge certain words from our conversation.
  2. Some people are very fluent when speaking.
  3. Enfield exposes the intricate workings of human conversation.
  4. Using cross-cultural data, Enfield shows how rapid is the turn-taking aspect of human conversation.
  5. Based on speech cues, we anticipate when it’s our turn to speak.
  6. The evidence shows we also may use these words intentionally as buffers.
  7. “Huh?” in conversation,  can be a mark of cooperation rather than confusion.
  8. Language arguably supports a uniquely human form of social accountability.
  9. Speakers may sometimes delay bad news by starting out with “uh” or “um,” .
  10. ‘Huh?’ can also be a sign of confusion.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

“Some 7,000 ___are spoken in the___ today, each a ___system made up of many thousands of sounds, words, ___structures and rules. Infants ___these systems natively, without ___insruction, within the first few years of life. Animals do not have___ in this sense. In linguistics, this has ___the search to define what makes this possible across our___, and only in our species.”

WORD LIST: world, species, formal, languages, grammatical, massive,acquire,motivated, language,

Grammar Focus: Word Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Language/Linagearguably supposes/supports a uniquely human/humaneform of special/socialaccountability/accountable: with language, we can name/noun or describe a piece of behavior, drawing/draw public attention to it, then characterizing it (as good, bad, not allowed, wrong, great, or what have you)

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the meanings of the  following statements in their own words. Ask students to provide examples. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class.

In his book How We Talk: The Inner Workings of Conversation, Enfield  states:

“Based on speech cues, we anticipate rather than wait for the moment when it’s our turn to speak. We risk losing our turn, or seeming hesitant, if we don’t jump right into the flow.”

When we talk, we agree to be accountable to each other for doing our respective parts in order to achieve a common goal, that of mutual understanding. Saying ‘Huh?’ draws attention to a possible failing in keeping up with that commitment, one which needs to be redressed on the spot, and we respond to it by helping the other, redressing the possible failing, so that we can move on.”

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language

My Deaf Son: “I see his voice. I hear his face.”

“I watched my toddler wade into the Gulf and launch a fistful of pebbles in flight. They glistened, tiny sparks of light, before I realized he was up to his chin in cold water. And I realized that if I called his name, if I screamed it, the word would sink like stone.”  E. Engelman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit Giselle Potter, The New York Times

Excerpt: My Deaf Son Fought Speech. Sign Language Let Him Bloom  By Elizabeth Engelman The New York Times

“When Micah turned 2 we had learned that he was profoundly deaf. In the audiologist’s office, an auditory brain response concluded he couldn’t hear a helicopter. ‘You’re taking this well,’ the doctor had said. But later, as I watched Micah step deeper into the Gulf water, I wanted to rage. I was so angry, I could have torn the beach apart. We celebrated his third birthday, and the audiologist turned his cochlear implants on for the first time.

Cochlear Implants | Brain Computer

I said, ‘Hi Micah, can you hear mommy?’ His hazel eyes widened and he screamed in terror, his body trembling. Shock. In American Sign Language, the sign for cochlear implant is similar to the sign for vampire. Vampire is signed with two fingers like teeth to the throat. Cochlear implant is signed with two fingers like teeth behind the ears.

Photo of 3 young children with cochlear implants. photo-hearingsearch

The audiologist told me not to sign at all. She said sign language was a crutch that would hinder his speech. When he heard my voice for the first time, his cry was guttural, a stab wound. He was bitten by sound…He refused to wear the $18,000 sound processors, and his defiance was feral: head butts to my face, kicks, bites. The back of his head smacked against my jaw, and for a moment everything went black. The implant surgery alone had cost $50,000. Auditory verbal therapy was out of pocket, the doctors were out of network. What choice did I have but to force him?

Cochlear Implant and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Listening Center. Photo- John Hopkins

When Helen Keller wouldn’t cooperate, her teacher Annie Sullivan used brute force. In The Story of My Life, Sullivan described how teaching obedience to the deaf and blind girl had to precede teaching language. Each week, I dragged him to speech therapy. He didn’t resist.

In public, his meltdowns drew unwanted attention on playgrounds and in grocery stores. How had I become the dejected mother in the fruit aisle, helpless as Micah bucked and cried, dangerously hitting his head on the linoleum floor?… I was no Annie Sullivan. I couldn’t break him, and instead, he was breaking me.

I gave up on spoken English, and enrolled in American Sign Language classes at the local community college.

Sign Language for children with Autism. photo- shieldhealthcare

Micah’s first sign was flower. To sign flower, the right hand grasps an imaginary stem and holds it first against the right nostril and then against the left, and like a flower, Micah blossomed one new sign at a time and took his implants off his head for good.

The Benefits of Using Sign Language with Your Child | .Intellidanceiff

Nine-week-old Aria, pictured right, was filmed concentrating closely as she was tenderly shown the gesture for ‘grandma’ by her grandmother Pamela, pictured left. photo- The Daily Mail

The first time he told me a story, he was 6. In the dark, his hand reaches up to speak, and I shine a flashlight on his fingers. They make rapid shadow puppets onto the bedroom wall, and I understand his story like a hieroglyph. I see his voice. I hear his face. His pristine silence fills a room far more than sound.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The audiologist turned his cochlear implants on for the first time.
  2. The audiologist told me not to sign at all.
  3. When he heard my voice for the first time, his cry was guttural.
  4. Helen Keller wouldn’t cooperate at the start of her training.
  5. When she took  him to speech therapy he didn’t resist.
  6. I woke up paralyzed on the right side of my face.
  7. The doctor said it was trauma to the nerve.
  8. She gave up on talking English.
  9. They enrolled in American Sign Language classes.
  10. His pristine silence fills a room far more than sound.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Micah’s first___ was___. To sign flower, the right hand grasps an___stem and holds it first against the right___and then against the left, and like a flower, Micah___ one new sign at a time and took his___off his head for good.

WORD LIST: implants, imaginary, sign, blossomed, flower, nostril,

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language, Social Issues