Saturday, November 27, 2010

3 words for rice

In Hahm Hanhee's article, "Rice and Koreans: Three Identities and Meanings", the author talks about how much Rice has effected Korean society. In English there is only one word but there are 3 words for rice in Korean.
They are "byeo," "ssal," and "bap." "Byeo" is the plant. This word instills harmony because people must work together with their community and nature in order to realize it. It is a peaceful word.
"Ssal" is a troubling word because it invokes memories of tension and conflict between the wealthy landlords and the poor tenant cultivators.
"Bap" has to do with the enjoyment of food and sharing it with one's family. Whereas people in China and Japan have started to consume less rice, it is still very much a staple in Korea. Many people eat it with every meal. It can be seen as the national dish.
However, since it is widespread, having it as a national dish does not make Korea distinctive. Therefore, Kimchi is looked upon as the national dish as it is unique amongst all countries. So Kimchi gets more attention but rice is more of a staple food.
Rice has a lot of meaning and significance to Korean Culture.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Publication Process

In the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Chapter 8, p. 225 - p. 243, the authors discuss the publication process.
The Peer Review process is the typically the method used to choose an article for publication.
Four areas are discussed and they include the four things the author is responsible for, like preparing the manuscript for submission, attending to administrative and ethical responsibilities, complying with publisher policy requirements, and working with the publisher during the production process.
The authors go on to say the Editorial Process uses Peer Review to select articles. For an article to be used in a journal, it must pass the following criteria. The journal article must not have been previously published, it must contribute to the archive of scientific knowledge, and it must have been reviewed by a panel of peers.
The author say, the peer-reviewed literature in a field is built by individual contributions that together represent the accumulated knowledge of a field.
Journal editors look for manuscripts that contribute significantly to the content area covered by the journal, communicate with clarity and conciseness, and follow style guidelines.
A reviewer may be asked to help in the selection process. A reviewer can provide technical expertise, might have familiarity with a particular controversy, and the reviewer might have a balance of perspectives. The reviewer typically provides scholarly input into the editorial decision.
To insure impartiality a masked review is used so that the reviewers do not know the author and the author does not know the reviewers.
A manuscript will be accepted or rejected based upon the importance of the novel contribution that the work might provide, and the appropriateness of the work to the particular journal.
Sometimes an article is rejected with an invitation to revise and resubmit it. The editor may want more empirical data to be gathered, that entire new experiments may need to be added, or that analyses need to be modified.
The author should attempt to submit a paper that looks good, is well formatted, and follows all APA rules. An author should comply with all ethical, legal, and policy requirements. The author should closely follow all APA rules and comply with all the policies and procedures when submitting and preparing a paper for publication.
I hope you get to enjoy the publication process.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Example Paper to Edit

This paper was offered on the Moodle as a sample paper to edit. I am not sure where it is suppose to be uploaded so I will post it here.

April 18, 2006

Statement of Purpose

I knew since tenth grade that I wanted to make an impact in adolescent’s lives. My middle and high school years were the hardest time of my life – I was changing and growing in so many different ways. My teachers became the positive role models in my life and pushed me to grow into the woman I am today. I value those teachers immensely and hope that one day I can become a positive role model for my students. My motivation to teach was present at the beginning of my program at the University of Vermont. Through my experiences within the program, tutoring at Edmunds Middle School, interning at a Burlington High School, the interaction with students continued to increase my drive. As I was working in both of these schools I began to realize how complex it is to teach students. I was a tutor at Edmunds Middle School which helped me learn how to build one – on – one relationships with students and to match meaningful strategies with a student’s personal needs. In Burlington High School, I was placed in a Special Education Resource Room, an English college prep and honors class, and an ESL classroom. Working with students at various levels helped me to appreciate students’ differences and challenges which take on all shapes and sizes. I wanted to learn through my courses effective teaching methods and strategies that would help mold my personal teaching style and philosophy. I wanted to match my natural drive with knowledge of the content area as well as with effective teaching methods. Throughout my time at the University I have begun to build my own teaching knowledge base that I am excited to incorporate into any classroom I am involved with.

Since the track changes are not visible, the edits are hard to see. I am sorry about that.

Data Commentary

In Swales & Feak's article in Unit Four, the authors say that in many writing assignments, there comes a place where graduate students need to discuss data. The authors say that the data is displayed in a table, graph, figure, or some kind of nonverbal illustration. They have called these writing subtasks data commentaries.
When someone analyses data one danger is to just repeat what was said. Another danger is to read too much into the data and draw unjustified conclusions.
The authors suggest using the general-specific writing method when discussing data.
The authors offer expressions that can be used to make a commentary about data. The strongest sentence variation is "caused." From there they get weaker and go "was probably a major cause of", "was one of the causes of", "contributed to", "may have contributed to", and "might have been a small factor in."
The authors offer an article about computer viruses. They use it as a task to help the reader analyze data. Then the reader is asked to write a commentary on the data.
The authors go on to discuss the verbs in indicative and informative summaries.
The authors stress the point that highlighting statements are usually ordered from general to specific. Major claims should be followed by minor claims.
The authors discuss dealing with graphs. It is tricky to analyze data from graphs and there are a lot of pitfalls. But there is a lot of valuable information that can be discerned from graphs.
Later, the authors go on to discuss how to deal with chronological data. In cases of chronological data the general-specific rule may be substituted with chronological order. The writer can start with the earliest data and finish with the latest data.
The authors provide a lot of helpful information in regards to data commentary.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swales & Feak, Article 14, Unit 3

In Swales & Feak, Article 14, Unit 3, the authors focus on the problem-to-solution writing style movement. They say that this structure will prove useful when writing critiques and introductions.
They also discuss process descriptions. They say it makes sense to see describing the parts of a process as the steps required to provide a solution to some problems. So the authors feel that giving tiny steps will help a writer follow their pattern and produce results. In this case, that means providing a solution to the problem that has been posed.
The authors say that a writer must be informed and organized if they are to follow an argumentative approach to a problem-to-solution task. If a writer wants to be evaluative then they should be questioning and perceptive.
An example essay "The Role of English in Research and Scholarship" is provided. The essay purports that the number of English essays is inflated. Also, the number on non-English essays are underrepresented.
The authors point out that the word, "However", introduces the counter-argument. The authors want to convince the reader that the problem really is a problem.
The authors wonder how many points must be made in order for the argument to be convincing. Of course, the more points that are made, the more convincing the argument will be.
The next essay describes a desert climate in Chile - the Atacama Desert.
The authors say that the passive voice is used in this essay to describe a technical process. Therefore the perceptiveness of the essay is meant to convince the readers.
An active voice is used to describe nature. Also -ing can be used to describe a result. Indirect questions can be persuasive and they are less likely to make a reader defensive.
Another way that information can be presented is in a question-and-answer format. Since the answers are possible solutions, they can be very convincing.
Students generally provide a topic sentence when they present a paper. Then they provide an answer based upon their research. In order to make their position more convincing, they should use one of the essay writing methods mentioned above.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beginning to Construct a Research Paper

In this week's readings, Swales and Freak talk about how to construct a research paper. They provide the IMRD outline. A writer should start with an introduction, then explain what methods will be used to acquire data, then present the results, and then discuss what repercussions the results have upon the research questions poised.
The authors explain that the writers of a research paper operate in a strategic manner. They want to begin by asking sufficiently interesting questions. The questions need to be answerable in a way that will satisfy the reader. The research paper needs to be competitive with current research. Thus, a writer needs to be familiar with the research that is current.
I will sketch a draft of my paper.
Introduction - I am observing a language club in Korea. The majority of the people in the club are highly motivated. My research questions are the following: What kind of motivation drives these people? Why is it that they are so driven?
Methods - I am creating an ethnography of a language club in Korea by 'participant observation.' This means that I attend the club as a member. I observe the other members and I ask them questions.
Results - The results that I have accumulated indicate that the club members are highly educated and they have a lot of intrinsic motivation. Research indicates that intrinsic motivation is the best motivation to have because it is self-sustaining. Therefore, it persists for a long time and it leads to the best results.
Discussion - Why are the people in the group so successful? If someone is willing to learn another language then chances are that they are open-minded and inquisitive. This desire acts as a filter for the group members as those that attend the club continue to strive to improve their language skills and accomplish their career goals.
Korea has four seasons so people here need to prepare for the winter season. To survive they must have enough kimchi so that they do not starve throughout the cold months. This requires planning and preparation. Therefore, Koreans are driven.
There is also a long history of education being revered in Korea. From the time of Confucius, state tests were used to determine who got the lucrative government jobs. Therefore, studying hard is very much a part of Korean tradition.
This was a rough sketch of my paper.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing Summaries

This weeks reading focuses on writing summaries. Swales & Feak say that we typically write summaries about conversations we have, lectures we attend, or about the things we read.
People write summaries for many reasons but they are typically for future reference.
A University student will create a summary in order to prepare for an exam. They need to memorize certain information so they need to summarize it to become familiar with it and make it digestible. They made also need to create a summary for a class discussion. Plus, they may need to summarize in order to create a term paper, a research paper, or a thesis. We are all preparing to do a thesis so that is the area that interests us the most.
A public summary is a display for others of your understanding of some material. We will all be making our summaries public as we share them with each other.
The authors provide an example summary that is fairly straight forward since it is dealing with factual material. It focuses on the agricultural revolution in Egypt and how that has affected the land and population. Since the 1800's the population has grown and people have migrated to the cities. In 1800 the population was 2.5 million, 1900 it was 9.7 million, in 1940 it was 18.8 million, 1970 it was 37 million, 1984 it was 46 million, and in 2000 it was 65 million. Currently Russia has 140 million people. Egypt is projected to have a higher population than Russia by the year 2050.
After examining the factual passage about Egypt, the authors then look at an argumentative passage about patents. This passage is harder to summarize because the writers of it have a specific agenda. They want to convince the reader of a certain way of thinking. There is a passage about 'patents' and a passage about 'reducing air pollution.' A lot of ideas are shared to try and make the arguments convincing.
The authors warn against plagiarizing other people's work. We should all respect other author's work and acknowledge them when used or cited.
Another type of summary are the Comparative Summaries. Comparative Summaries require you to analyze and use information from two or more sources rather than one. It may not be an objective representation of the original sources. Relevant material is required for this task. Humor is the topic that is picked as an example for Comparative Summaries.
Thus, the final task is a comparative summary about humor. Wilson (1979) and Ziv (1984) discuss humor and we are to compare and contrast the two authors view. An example comparative summary is provided.
Wilson feels that humor reflects the social hierarchy. Those in a higher social position mock or ridicule those in a lower social position. Merely being outside a group can make someone an object of ridicule. Therefore we go out of our way to try and fit in.
Ziv sees the social function of humor as one of control and maintaining or establishing rapport. Joking is a way to establish social order.
Both the authors see humor as an important tool in our communication arsenal. However, Wilson offers a lot more specifics.
I hope you enjoyed the unit about writing summaries. Especially since we will all be doing a lot of that in the near future. Take care. Cheers, Chad

Thursday, October 7, 2010

General to Specific

In this week's reading, the authors discuss a writing task that requires the participant to write in general and then gradually become more and more specific.
I have found helpful the inverted triangle - square - square - square - triangle diagram when I am writing a paper. In the introductory paragraph the writer should begin with a very general statement. They can relate their topic to the world or to all people. Then the writer should be more and more specific. The last sentence of the introductory paragraph should be the topic sentence that clearly states the writers main idea or point. The initial sentence is represented by the wide part of the triangle. The topic sentence is represented by the tip of the triangle.
Then the squares represent the paragraphs where the writer reinforces the main point. Each sentence should be connected with the other in some way. When a new point or reference is being made then a new paragraph should be created. The points should be linked together by the previous sentence.
The closing paragraph should begin by being very specific and restate (albeit, in a different and interesting way) the writer's topic sentence or main point. This is represented by the top of the triangle. Then each of the following sentences should get more and more general. Finally, the last sentence should apply the writer's main topic to the world in a very general way. This is represented by the bottom or wide part of the triangle.
Swales and Freak offer a lot of helpful tips but the topics they suggest to be written about seem quite difficult. I do not know that much about science to elaborate about technical topics. Trying to define humor seems to be a challenging task.
I have found the "Writing Exercise" helpful. Just writing for 5 minutes about any topic or a specific topic seems to be good practice. I suppose writing about a topic that is difficult (science or humor) could be helpful. It would be painful but good for you, like exercise. After writing about a difficult topic and then taking up the task of writing about something that one is familiar with or interested in would seem easier and refreshing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Paper Project

I am working on an ethnography about Korean culture using the 'participant observation' research technique to gather data. I have been attending a language club that meets once a week. As I study Korean and help others with English, I try to determine what people's goals are and what motivates them.
Initially my literature review was an examination of intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic motivation. It looked at what kind of rewards were best at motivating people. The paper concluded that positive feedback was the best way to intrinsically motivate people.
Does that literature review fit with my current research? It does so very loosely so it would not be the best thing to use it. I think it would make a paper with not much depth.
Currently my theme is "Why are Koreans so driven?" I could say, "Why are people so driven?" Or I could say, "Why am I so lazy?" since everyone else seems to be more driven than I am.
Professor Reynolds has been having us do a free writing exercise at the beginning of class where we write for 3 minutes. I used that technique to come up with the following. Go!
Today Koreans are driven because their ancestors gave up nomadic tendencies. They settled and domesticated plants and animals. The settled life led to culture. Culture over a long period of time involving a lot of people led to the revering of education. A highly educated society that did not have the most up-to-date technology was nonetheless able to adapt to the modern world very quickly because the educational system merely had to change focus. The strong education foundation had been in place from long ago.
The modern economic miracle that Korea came to be came about because the United States and other countries provided a lot of foreign investment. Korea had access to the largest markets in the world due to its proximity to China and Japan. It also had access to the market in the United States due to its close relationship.
Now Koreans are driven to enter the highly educated, highly skilled job market of a mature economy because of their long tradition of revering education. There is a limited number of good paying manufacturing jobs so that is not a viable option for a highly educated Korean. Also, a low paying job in the service sector is not a viable option for a highly educated Korean.
So why are Koreans highly motivated and driven to succeed?
The country has a large population with a static living location with a long history that is located in a very strategic area.
This would contrast with Mongolia (sorry Mongolia) that has a relatively small population that migrates in some cases in a country that is land locked and a less revered educational system.
What are the characteristics of someone who is intrinsically motivated to learn another language? They are ambitious, sensitive, empathetic, motivated to seek higher degrees and find a better job.
The language club that I attend is a social club with an international feel. But the over riding message that I come away from the club with is that 'Koreans are driven.'
So if I pursue this theory, "Koreans are driven" and I use the research question "Why are Koreans driven?" then I need to create a literature review that supports that. I need to find articles that examine this phenomenon. Can anybody help me? I need to find articles that are related to this theme.
Related to this.
Why are Koreans so driven? That is a question that I will attempt to answer. It is a complex question but there must be a reason that Korean society is so driven. Korea has harsh winters. In ancient times and today, Koreans would grow cabbage and radish and hot peppers in the summertime. In order to have food in the winter time, the Koreans would submerge the cabbage in crushed hot peppers in order to preserve it. This created what they call kimchi. They would also submerge the radish in hot pepper sauce in order to preserve it as a winter vegetable. In order to have enough food to survive the winter, they had to work hard in the summer time. Did this time honored practice create a very driven society? I have heard people say that some people in Thailand are lazy because there is no incentive to work. It is always warm so there is always food. There is nothing pressing to be done in order to survive. A person can just soak up the sun and be happy. In general, the people of Thailand are said to be some of the happiest and least motivated people in the world. Is there any merit to these generalizations?

Literature Review

A literature review is a reflection of the learning process that the researcher experienced. As Anderson (2003) discusses in Chapter 4 "The Literature Review Process in e-Research" the literature review generally appears near the beginning of the paper but it is constantly in need of revision. Initially as the researcher begins to create the literature review it will appear as reflection upon the articles that the researcher has read. After the researcher has narrowed down their research question, the literature review will need to be revised. So that the literature review flows smoothly, it must reflect a constant theme. It should consist of the theory that guides the research and helps to frame the research question.
As the researcher is looking for a topic, the more articles that can read, the better. As the researcher starts to realize what their topic will be, then articles that are pertinent and specifically address their topic need to be found. After the research for the project is completed, then the researcher must revise the literature review so that it flows smoothly. Even though the learning process is haphazard, the researcher must present a neat project so that others can understand and learn from the efforts that they made. Even though the researcher is constantly rethinking things, the literature review must be a clear thought that can be easily shared.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning a Language

In the last few years the biggest lesson I have learned is that the English lessons that I give are too difficult. The problem arose because I was bored when I presented a lesson. Sometimes I would present a simple lesson but I would move through it much too quickly.
Now I realize how important it is to present a simple and digestible lesson to students. The lesson may be, "What do you eat for dinner?" After going through that lesson, the next step would be a slight variation, such as, "What does she eat for dinner?" That can be followed up with a lesson that asks, "What do you have for lunch?" Then one can move on to, "What is your favorite food?"
Anyone can watch "Lost" or "Heroes" or "Desperate Housewives" and listen to an English speaker that they don't understand. A teacher needs to be understood by their students or everyone is wasting their time. So it is important to present a lesson that is digestible and that reinforces itself. It is important not to overwhelm someone. In pedagogy, this has been described as one's "Zone of Proximal Knowledge."
It is a big challenge for teachers. I am still guilty of doing it. Either I am bored and want to move to quickly or I don't spend enough time creating a suitable lesson.
As I study the Korean language I encounter the same thing. As Koreans try and help me they go so fast. "What was that?" I say and they are already on to something else. Do they think it is helpful if they just keep on talking?
I did have a good lesson from a Korean friend 5 months ago. That is the last one that I think was appropriate to my level. We kept going over one question and just came up with a variety of answers. I was amazed that I was learning something tangible immediately.
Of course I should prepare Korean material that I want to study. I need to be proactive and just get someone to help me with what I have already reviewed or prepared. I have done that and it is invariably a case where I am telling or showing someone something that needs to make them slow down. I have a children's dictionary and that usually is helpful to get someone to slow down and help me at my level.
When I study Korean I watch Korean DVDs. It might be a movie. However, I am currently watching "Winter Sonata" with Bae Yong Jun. It is on DVD so I can avoid the commercials. This gives me good listening practice. It also helps me learn about Korean culture. Culture is an experience that people share. If a Korean has watched "Winter Sonata" or even heard of it, then I have a great conversation starter with them because we are talking about a "shared experience."
I also read Korean Children's stories. I learn vocabulary from these books by learning the word first. After I know the word, then I look up the meaning. I have seen the word many times and I say it and use it. But only later do I try and discern the meaning. The meaning is secondary. It is better to know the word first and use it before you associate it with a meaning from your first language. Reading Children's stories out loud is also a great way to improve one's pronunciation.
Lately I have been reading "Kong Ji Paht Ji." This story is remarkably like "Cinderella." Knowing a Korean story is also a great conversation starter. Culture is shared experience so if you know the title and plot of a Korean story then you will have a great conversation with a Korean about a shared experience.
I hope you all have a great Chuseok! Cheers, Chad

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Swales' Article

In the extract from Swales' book we looked at Unit 1, "An Approach to Academic Writing." The author gives some good tips about how to get started writing and revising. The author is particular about how someone should write. This is not a free writing exercise. The student must be conscious about who they are writing for. After a first draft is ready then the student must clean up their paper. They can do this by using the words: assist, establish, reduce, create, determine, investigate, fluctuate, increase, and eliminate.
To this list I would like to add: "Research shows", "The author intends", "Research suggests", "The author goes on to say", and "The author continues."
A big part of doing a research paper is quoting and citing the research of others. If you would like to express yourself more then let me suggest that you do an Ethnography. This acceptable writing format allows you to engage in 'participant observation.' You can observe a situation, classroom, and/or phenomenon and make your own observations. Your own thoughts then become a focal point of your research as you record your experience.
Otherwise, you will be researching other people's work and then organizing the data. You will be able to express your own ideas in the conclusion but more often than not it will be a reflection of your source material. Good luck!

Critical Incident Protocol

Critical Incident Protocol


In 2004, I was teaching at a Kindergarten Hagwon in Hwa Jeong, Goyang Shi, Gyeonggi Do, South Korea. I had twelve students in the class. I asked each student a question. If they answered correctly I gave them a ‘check’ by their name. At this point all the students had six checks by their name.

One student named Thomas started joking around. I told him to be quiet and he continued to disrupt the class. I then took the white board eraser and erased 3 of his stars. He was so distraught by this that he collapsed on the floor in a pile of despair.

I had to spend the rest of the class trying to console him.


Why had my lesson gone array? What terrible punishment had reduced this student to mush?


I had failed to notice just how important the ‘checks’ were to the students. If they received 3 checks then that would lead to a sticker. They would put the sticker on their sticker chart. Once they completed their sticker chart then they would receive a gift.

For a Korean seven year old (five years international age), this was a big part of their self-esteem and self-image. I failed to recognize that their status in the classroom was based in large part by ‘checks’, stickers, and the teacher’s approval.


Now I recognized the value of this system and how it should be applied. I still gave the students’ ‘checks.’ Three ‘checks’ still meant a student would get a sticker to put on their sticker chart.

However, now I took a different approach to discipline. If a student disrupted the class then I would pick up the white board eraser and hold it over their ‘checks.’ I would call out the student’s name. “Thomas!” He would see my intention. Then he would prostrate himself and say, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.”

That was enough to get him back on task. I avoided an emotional meltdown that would have disrupted the class further. Instead we could continue with the lesson unabated.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reflections of Week 1's Readings

Reflections on the first week’s readings

By Chad Pozsgay

The first article we read was called, “Reflection is at the heart of practice.” I was impressed when it stated that “Split-second decision making is a crucial aspect of teaching.”

When I first started teaching I made a lot of mistakes. Usually I made an error but once I had made that decisions I could not quickly readjust and implement an alternative teaching direction or classroom management technique. I felt rigid. I felt like I had to lay down the law in the classroom. That meant that I could not even allow myself alternative options in my approach to something.

Over time, I started to realize that I needed to adapt quickly in the classroom. If a particular activity sparked the students’ interest then I needed to extend the time devoted to it. If an activity floundered then I needed to quickly adapt it or move on to something else that might be more stimulating.

In the “Reflection is at the heart of practice”, the authors talk about deliberately reflecting upon one’s experience and teaching practice. They give some examples of teachers reflecting on their experience and trying to learn from it. Letting the students sort through their emotions is a good way for the teacher to get the response they desire.

In Yamada’s article, “How to Avoid Plagiarism,” the author discusses the issues regarding stealing other people’s words or ideas. One remedy that the author offers is for there to be extension training in so far as people are taught how to cite other people’s work.

In the TESOL-MALL program the APA style is the required program to adhere to when citing sources. The APA style is updated quite often. Therefore, yesterday’s way of citing a source may be different today. That makes it more difficult to be completely accurate. However, the method of citing a source does not change that dramatically. That way, usually only a minor change or readjustment can be made in order to cite a source accurately.

In North America, students start to write at a very young age. They are encouraged to share their thoughts. Accurately giving credit to an author or source is taught very quickly.

In Korea, people are many times taught to emulate the teacher. They are suppose to do something the exact way that they are told. Therefore, when a Korean takes a TESOL-MALL course they are usually surprised to find so much attention being focused on the APA format and doing proper citation.

We will soon use the APA Sixth Edition guidebook in our academic writing class. That will help all the students avoid plagiarism.

In the optional reading, “Reflective teaching in EFL: Integrating theory and practice,” the authors talked about ways to close the gap between theory and practice. They make the observation that many teachers come out of university and they do not see how educational theory is related to educational practices. The future classroom teachers do not see how to implement educational theory into their classroom teaching.

I think this article makes a good point. I have been studying TESOL-MALL for two years and it is not often that I come across something that I can use in the classroom. I don’t know why it has to be so impractical. A major part of the problem is that I don’t understand the theories that are being put forth. But I do think more of an effort could be made to translate educational theory into practical classroom activities.

I have heard from people who study Adult Education that the primary focus is to make the classroom experience better for the teachers and the students. Less time is spent on theories that do not have or are in want of a practical classroom application. In that respect, Adult Education seems to be a more practical program to study.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Academic Writing

Hello Everyone! September is here and that means that the fall semester has begun. This fall I am taking "Academic Writing" with Professor Eric Reynolds.
We will be writing about our experiences and we will be doing some research. We will look at different types of writing styles and we will be practicing those. I am excited to get started.
I am looking forward to sharing ideas in our classroom meetings. It is good to get other people's point of view. Getting someone else's point of view can change our perspective completely.
The sun will go below the equator in three weeks and then there will be a lot less daylight. That isn't all bad. That means the weather will cool off. That should be nice after such a hot summer.
I hope you like using blogger. I look forward to following your blog soon. Take care.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Validation in Qualitative Research

There are different ways to validate one's research. Getting help from a peer can help. A peer review is a good way to find out if someone similar to you feels the same way. When they look at your data do they come up with the same observations and conclusions? If so, then the researcher can look at this as an affirmation of their study.
Another way is to do member checking. After gathering information from your study and analyzing it, it is good to check with the participants to see if they agree with you. Can the members validate what you said? If the members of the study think that you are on the right track then the researcher can feel good that they are drawing the proper conclusions.
Is there a pattern in your data and observations? If there is, then that can be seen as a way to validate your data. Triangulation is possible if the data frequently points to the same conclusions.
Before a study a researcher tries to predict the outcome of research or what the study is hoping to find or reinforce. But the results might point to something else. If it appears often enough, then this 'rigor' points to another conclusion. The researcher did not initially expect this result but it has been found often enough to now be deemed important.
The researcher should look at this closely and see why an unexpected pattern occurred. There may have been a flaw in the methodology. There could be an unexpected result that requires more attention and analysis. The researcher should step back and try to explain why an unexpected result occurred. This could help the researcher find a new insight.
Validation is important so that the researcher can feel confident that their study is an accurate picture of the world around them. If the study is an accurate portrayal of the results that came from their research then it might provide insights that are useful and practical.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interpretation of Culture by Clifford Geertz

I read the first chapter of Interpretation of Culture by Clifford Geertz. It is actually a collection of essays that he wrote over a number of years. He says himself that it is a very roundabout way to make a book. First, he wrote the essays and then he came up with the title.
That is kind of how he does ethnographic research. He observes and then makes a thick description. He is weary of theories that can be stifling or that oversimplify.
So that is the dilemma of the anthropologist. How do they keep an open mind when they have to pass judgement upon a subculture or a people group?
Well, they write and write and write and hope that that will shed light upon what is happening. They try and make sense of the cultures around them.
But as soon as they try and come up with an all encompassing theory then they are in a bit of trouble. They are not dealing with a hard science. They are dealing with human behavior which is very complex. The origins of someone's actions are hard to pinpoint.
As the author says, "Finding our feet, an unnerving business which never more than distantly succeeds, is what ethnographic research consists of as a personal experience; trying to formulate the basis on which one imagines, always excessively, one has found them is what anthropological writing consists of as a scientific endeavor."
The author goes on to say, "The ethnographer "inscribes" social discourse; they write it down. In so doing, they turn it from a passing event, which exists only in its own moment of occurrence, into an account, which exists in its inscriptions and can be reconsulted."
I hope to record some of my experiences in Korea and make some observations. Then I will hopefully learn more about this fascinating country.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Difference between women and men

I had read that women enter a situation and focus on the relationships within that setting. Men enter a situation and try and recognize or establish a pecking order or hierarchy amongst the group assembled.
While reading the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, the article "...The Construction of Masculinity" by Michael Messner says, "As a result of these internalized gender differences, males were posited to develop more "positional" identities (with fears of intimacy), whereas females develop more "relational" identities (with fears of separation) (Gilligan, 1982; Rubin, 1983).
I think these perceptions have developed over the long, long period of human development. They continue to develop and change. I think the perceptions are changing faster and faster as society becomes more complex.

A Phenomenological Study

In the Phenomenological Study about "Cognitive Representations of AIDS" by Elizabeth H. Anderson and Margaret Hull Spencer, the authors address a heart wrenching topic. How do people that are infected with the AIDS cope with having that disease? For many, the disease will lead to death so they must come to terms with that.
Most people view death as an event that will happen in the unforeseen future. They can put it in the back of their mind and not think about it. This happens so often in society that if someone is preoccupied with death, they might be seen as being mentally ill or mentally unstable.
Unfortunately, people suffering from AIDS must deal with this difficult topic head on. As the author point out, their responses range from being traumatized to the realization that their life is being devoured.
The authors say, "With the diagnosis of AIDS, dreams of marrying, having children, or working were no longer perceived as possible. The impact on each one's life was measured differently from loss of ability to work to loss of children, family, possessions, and sense of oneself. The thought of leaving children, family, and friends was extremely difficult but considered a reality."
The authors have done a great service to study such a difficult topic. Hopefully, their research will help people cope with an unpleasant situation. They can help shed light on ways to give people hope.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ethnography - Examining cultures

I am enjoying working on an ethnography examining a Language Club in Korea. I came to Korea to learn about the culture. Teaching English allows me to stay in the country and support myself. Studying the Korean Language helps me learn about the culture. I am tickled if I can study the culture in a TESOL program. It is a dream come true.

"Let's See": Contrasting Talks about Teaching, part 2

This article could of been called, "Constructive criticism is the way to go" or "People love positive feedback." The author, John F. Fanselow, wants to take the fear out of evaluations. If a supervisor has "superior vision" then teachers will feel like they are at their mercy or become very defensive. However, if all the teachers can cooperate and learn together then a positive, supportive environment can be created. Teachers hope to create this in their classroom so why not start with each other?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Case Study

Creswell talks about a case study that he did that involved a gunman incident. No one was physically hurt but they underwent psychological trauma.
Two days after the attacks of 9/11, I was working in downtown San Francisco. The alarm went off and everyone evacuated the building. Throughout the day, different buildings were evacuated throughout the city. It was found that all this occurred because of one bomb threat that was phoned in.
The city was going through psychological trauma. What I found interesting was that it occurred two days after the event. The feelings of vulnerability did not emerge until long after the event had been internalized. This sheds some light on the nature of psychological disturbances. They are sometimes delayed or manifested later.
Creswell tried to do the study to help schools deal with incidents like this that might occur in the future. As the author found out, people who seemed initially fine, felt very disturbed by what they experienced later. There was a delayed reaction to the events.
It was valuable that the author examined the situation over time as things are perceived through different lenses after time passes. This is valuable research because unfortunately this is an all too frequent event in North America.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Activism in Ethnography

I was reading the example in Creswell of an Ethnography and it talked about the Straight Edgers and their viewpoint. One participant says"
"...There's a pendulum in society and it's tilted one way so far, and sitting in the middle of the pendulum isn't going to help swing it back. There needs to be more straight edgers on the other side to help even it out, at the least."
In the book, "Why do all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria", the author says that going along with society is like riding the 'moving sidewalk' at the airport. If you just go along with society then you are perpetuating the way things are. You need to actively go against the mainstream in order to bring about a positive change. Only then are you 'against' some negative aspect of society that exists. Only by trying to counteract something do you stand up to it.
I have wondered why things often stay the same. Only by actively going against things can one make a positive contribution to change.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cultural Differences between Korea and North America

Many Koreans that I have spoken to are interested in the cultural differences between Korea and North America.
Korea has a very long and ancient history but North America is a relatively new place. Being that way, Korea is very much steeped in tradition and there is a lot of obligation to society and to one's family. In that way, life choices in Korea made be looked at more narrowly.
In North America, many people are encouraged to discover what they want and pursue their dream, no matter how unique it is. This leads to a lot of self-actualization and personal growth. However, it comes at a price as a lot of people in North American cultural feel disconnected from each other. Sometimes this manifests itself in an attitude of everyone for themselves.
In Korea, there is a lot of respect for one's family and for one's elders. To reciprocate a lot of the seniors try and teach and take care of their juniors. So it creates a tremendous bond in the culture but it is a lot of responsibility as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Let's See": Contrasting Talks about Teaching

In the article '"Let's See": Contrasting Conversations about Teaching' by John F. Fanselow from the Teachers College at Columbia University, the author talks about a different approach to observing teachers.
Instead of a supervisor with "super vision" telling the teacher what to change, the author suggests that the 'visiting teacher' should look at the other teacher and see themselves. In this way, a healthy dialogue can be fostered to help teachers exchange ideas about teaching.
Traditionally when someone observed another teacher they offered a helpful prescription for improvement or a rating of the observed performance. A lot of time that help was met with hostility or resentment. Too much instruction can teach "learned helplessness" where the recipient feels unable to act without some sort of instructions. The author offers that the observation can be directive, alternative, collaborative, non-directive, or creative.
The best way to help someone become a better teacher is to encourage self-exploration. Through self-exploration an instructor can see their own teaching differently.
The classroom teacher needs to be responsible for the decision-making that occurs that effects the students. It is perhaps time to train the teacher to analyze their situation and make their own decision for their situation.
Many of our communications are unconscious. The author says feedback should be given for 5 minutes after the observed class or else it will never happen.
The article says that observing is selecting. What we see is not what takes place but what we value as important to see.
The author looked at how observations are interpreted. "Why did you smile?" is an observation. The observed teacher would probably respond, "At that moment I thought that the class needed reassurance.
In the article, the author wants to encourage teachers to explore. Therefore they have to be very careful when they critique others. Words can have certain meaning and they can limit the scope of the exploration. If something is deemed good or bad then the decision has already been made about what value it has. We should look beyond our ego at what is really happening and not limit communication. If we are open to it, then we can explore and grow.
So the author wants teachers and visiting teachers to be open to new ideas and to rethink old ideas. There might be something hidden that will come to light by reinventing the wheel. More reflection and less judgement is needed to be open to all possibilities.

Ethnography Questions

Creswell's book offered some good questions for an ethnography. Such as:
What are the core values of Koreans?
How do Koreans construct and understand their subjective experiences of being Korean?
(This question asks first for a description of the core values and then an understanding of experiences, that are presented as themes in the study.)
What are the experiences in this individual's life?
What are the stories that can be told from these experiences?
What are the "turning points" in the stories?
What are some theories that relate to this individual's life?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Grounded Theory Study

The case study, "Constructions of Survival and Coping by Women Who Have Survived Childhood Sexual Abuse" by Susan L. Morrow and Mary Lee Smith was very powerful and moving. I praise the authors for studying this difficult subject matter. I find it disturbing how prevalent this sort of thing is. I hope the authors can offer hope to the women who have suffered this kind of abuse.

Article Review, "Interviewing: the art of science"

In the article, "Interviewing: The Art of Science" by Andrea Fontana and James H. Frey, the history of the modern interview is explored. The past is compared to current interview techniques and they are evaluated.
The modern interview is credited to Charles Booth, according to the authors. In 1886, Charles Booth embarked on a comprehensive survey of the economic and social conditions of the people of London. This survey was later published as Life and Labour of the People in London (1902-1903).
Later in America, George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion. I have seen the Gallup Polls used even now.
Since I plan to do an ethnographic study I was struck to see an ethnographic study in Chicago described as a 'first hand descriptive study' and not an ethnographic study. I hope I don't fall into that category as well.
One of the most common types of interviews is the structured interview. Structured interviewing follows a very strict procedure. Such an interviewing style often elicits rational responses, but it overlooks or inadequately assesses the emotional dimension.
Another weakness in structured interviews is that the interviewer assumes they understand the participants, but they actually make assumptions in order to fill in the gaps. The controlling role of the interviewer is a weakness that postmodernists point out.
Unstructured Interviewing is used to understand the complex behavior of members of society without imposing any a priori categorization that may limit the field of inquiry. The interviewer immerses himself in the native culture, letting it soak in by his mere interacting with the natives and being there. An unstructured interview is better at establishing rapport but then there is the pitfall of 'going native.' The interviewer might sympathize so much with the subjects that they abandon their research and join the other culture. Still, one must present themselves so that they are trusted and not feared.
A group interview or focus group is harder to control than an individual interview but the data provided can be very rich and compelling. Due to time restraints a focus group can be the best approach to accumulate a lot of valuable data quickly.
I think for our papers, the literature review is the foundation, but the interviews are the catalysts that produce results that can be measured as progress. Happy interviewing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Asking the right questions

It would seem that the reading this week focuses on asking the right questions. Chapter 6 in Creswell begins by saying that the design of a qualitative study begins before the researcher chooses a qualitative approach.
So the overarching problem or issue that needs to be explored needs to be determined. Once the problem is identified then the questions can be raised that best explore that issue.
Where I am at right now, my big question is "Why do Koreans study English?" It is nice and broad and it can allow the exploration of many facets of Korean culture.
Of course, one question is going to lead to another. "Why is English important?" needs to be addressed. If people studying English in Korea are deemed to be successful then the question, "How can Korea's success studying English be emulated in other places?"
The literature review that I have completed explores the issue of "How to motivate students in an EFL classroom." So how can this literature review be accomodated with the qualitative study?
EFL Teachers need a study to help them learn effective ways to motivate their students to learn English in Korea. So this study could be of service to teachers who want to best understand how to motivate their students.
I plan to take a descriptive approach and describe the phenomenon. There are issues of money or a better salary or job to be explored. If someone has a command of English then they might see a change in their social status. If someone can communicate in English then they could feel that they can express their true feelings as they released from cultural confines of their native language. These are the leads I have so far.
I am interested in doing an ethnography. In an ethnography, the writer might identify the key cultural concepts being examined such as roles, behaviors, acculturation, communication, myths, stories, and concepts. So I need to explore these areas and then interview participates and then reflect on the data.
I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.
Cheers, Chad Pozsgay


Hello Classmates, how are you doing? It is great that I have gotten to know many of you. I hope the semester is going well. It is hard to see what direction to go in as far as research is concerned but I like the ideas that everyone has posted. Good luck! Cheers, Chad


Greetings! I am looking forward to preparing an ethnographic qualitative study. I have enjoyed living in Korea and I hope to examine the people that make up this great country. I am looking at different questions to explore such as, "Why do Koreans study English?" and "Why are Koreans motivated to study?" I will have to motify my approach but I am looking forward to exploring different aspects of Korean culture and the Korean psyche.

Qualitative Research

I am excited to start blogging. Qualitative research is a great path of study to pursue because it how humanizing it is. It focuses on how people react to things and tries to predict how they will respond in the future.
As teachers, we get to gauge the reactions of our students on an almost daily basis. From there we can modify our teaching to do what is most effective.
I hope everyone is enjoying the start of their school year. This is an interesting time since we are all dealing with students that we have not known for very long.
I wish you all the best and look forward to exchanging ideas soon.
Take care,
Chad Pozsgay