Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Excellent Example: Authentic reading exercise (and "The Teacher as Struggling Adult Learner")

Dr. Alison Gopnik's article in the New York Times in January 2004 asked us to think about the "teacher as a coach." A baseball coach doesn't lecture; the coach shows a skill, then watches the students imitate the skill.

She also pointed out that most adults present a finished essay (to show students how to write) without showing the false starts and the throwaways.

So, why not go through the surprise that you first experienced when you first got one of these email messages asking for verification or confirmation? This is an example of "authentic reading" that comes from real life. Jeff Hutt returned from a conference once with a passionate phrase: "We need to give our students authentic reading material -- not textbooks, but newspapers, brochures and advertisements."

Here's a start:

Kindly understand that we need your Email details below for confirmation on the new web mail data system. This is based on the Google End User License Agreement (EULA) that was accepted during the initial registration. Your Account will be permanently removed and shut down if not verified on time.

User Email Address:
Your Password:
Confirm Password:
First and Last Name:
Present State/Country:

Again we apologize for any inconveniences. If you would like to continue using Google services, please click on the reply button and email us the aforementioned details immediately for confirmation and validation.

Thanks for Using our Service.

Here's the sender:

From: Google_email/info/detail/fvf-0157e193

Subject: Email Account Verification

Date: July 12, 2011 4:07:48 AM EDT

To: datainfo22@gmail.com

Here's a link for Alison Gopnik: gopnik at berkeley dot edu

Why not send a fan letter?

We've known for a long time that human children are the best learning machines in the universe. But it has always been like the mystery of the humming birds. We know that they fly, but we don't know how they can possibly do it. We could say that babies learn, but we didn't know how. -- A. Gopnik


What clues in the email message above did you use to figure out what department of Google had sent it?

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