Gillian Flynn is a skillful writer and I was impressed by most of “Gone Girl”. This book is one she wrote before that, her debut novel.
I give her full credit for knowing how to write. That’s not the problem.
I knew the book was a murder mystery, and expected the gruesome murders at the beginning. But I found this book simply disgusting to read. Not only the events but the way all the women in the town were depicted and their behavior in the past and the present.
I read more of it that I should have because there is suspense but before I got to the middle I realized that there was no reason I should feel this bad every time I began reading. I read the last chapter to confirm my suspicions about who had done “it” and returned the book to the library.
Now I hope to forget the book as soon as possible!
It’s that time of year again at the high-school. The twelfth graders are about to take a series of final exams before graduating. And every year there are a few students who break my heart. But this year one student seems to stand out in particular.
We’ll call him P. Like the other “heartbreaking” students before him, he “bought” the school system’s slogan “hard work = success”, worked hard, did his homework, missed very few classes and reviewed the material. Unlike those other students, he remembers vocabulary items better than most of the students in all my classes. He’s curious about words, and brings in words he encounters online. Even more remarkable, he demonstrates a more extensive world knowledge than many of the other Deaf & hard of hearing students I teach.
This week we had another Mock Exam. The topic was NASA. P. knew what NASA was. Not something to to take for granted in my classes. He remembered to use the highlight-marker the way we practiced. P told me proudly that he had remembered some of the words without using the dictionary.
Once again he got the lowest grade in his class. A barely passing grade. Lower than students who, to put it politely, are not model students at all.
Despite all the ways we work on reading comprehension, he can’t seem to integrate the information in the text well. Some things baffle him even after we discuss them in mother tongue. In the aforementioned text there was a paragraph explaining how in the past only NASA employees could work on space projects (today the situation is different). P. simply could not understand the answer to the question related to who used to pay the people who worked on space projects. We discussed it for 10 minutes afterwards and he still did not see the connection between the word “employee” and the source of the payment. I tried to give examples closer to his reality, (in mother tongue!) such as the fact that I teach him at school (I’m not his employee) vs. a private tutor who could come to his home (he is then the employer). P. still didn’t understand it. Other students did not have a problem with this question!
Every test P. looks so disappointed to see his peers get higher grades, while he barely gets a passing grade. He knows he works harder than they do. He looks at me and what can I say?!!
Remember the old saying: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”?
Well, I’ve decided to put some eggs in a new basket.
I’ve opened a virtual stand at a very organized, very large and official site, where teachers sell materials and lesson plans, called Teachers-Pay-Teachers.
For openers, I’ve revisited those delightful cavemen who learn how to share and collaborate when hunting for eggs (with the blessing of Paul Yan, their creator), but have taken the film in a completely different direction:
Alice Hoffman’s book “The Museum of Extraordinary Things” was better than this one. Even though at the time I complained about Hoffman’s heavy emphasis on descriptions (I listened to that one as an audiobook, not doing that again), the historical tale really brought alive the world of immigrants to New-York and the days of the sweatshops. It’s a book I remember well, which is why I decided to try another by the same author.
The writing is beautiful (though I do like more dialogue!) and the message of the book related to dealing with loss and pain is powerful, yet not “Kitsch”.
But some parts of it just don’t seem believable to me. They just don’t make sense. I looked at some reviews online after I finished it, and it seems I’m not the only one who had trouble with this issue, and with the first chapter in particular.
Nonetheless, it’s easy to read and at no point did I want to stop reading.
Thank you Mr. Simon Mumford for validating my gut feeling that writing three distractors on a multiple choice exercise /exam is better than writing four!
In the article “When three is better than four” (IATEFL “VOICES”, March-April 2015, Issue 243) supports this claim with research findings and makes a very convincing case of his own.
Assuming that distractors are supposed to be relevant to the text (not totally ridiculous!) while clearly being the wrong answer, makes creating good distractors challenging. particularly if the question is about a small excerpt from the text. According to Mumford, it’s not just an illusion that many distractors aren’t doing their job!
Oddly enough, this is the second time this week that I have encountered the topic of distractors! In a recent “The New Yorker ” magazine, (I get them late and am still reading back issues) there was a personal story about a middle-aged man learning to drive for the first time (he lives in New-York…). Before the written driving exam, his 2o year old son gave him words of wisdom regarding multiple choice exams. The son stressed that two of the possible answers will be clearly wrong on every question, so even if you rely a bit on guesswork, you have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right!
I’m with Mumford – quality is much more important than quantity.
Here’s to three possible answers on multiple choice exams!
(Note: Around here multiple choice exams are known as “American Tests”!).
Teaching English as a FOREIGN language to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students