Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bilingual Education

Bilingual education involves the teaching of two languages for academic instruction and content. According to Andersson and Boyer (1970) in Bilingual Schooling in the United States, "Bilingual education is instruction in two languages and the use of those two languages as mediums of instruction for any part, or all, of the school curriculum."

In bilingual education, both languages are considered equally important; one is not favored over the other. Content and delivery are provided in the two languages rather than one of the languages being taught as a subject by itself. In bilingual education, none of the languages should be lost, altered or diluted.

In Canada, both French and English are official languages. The Canadian Constitution provides for the use of both languages. Although French-Canadians are making serious attempts to get to a French unilingualism, it is unthinkable to seek the homogenization of linguistically diverse groups. In addition, in current times, the acquisition of more than one language remains a plus. While French is estimated as having 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers worldwide, English has become the lingua franca, the language of choice for business and computers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Highway Engineering Basics

If there is something that has facilitated the time-saving transportation it is the construction of roads. It is believed that road construction engineering existed in the 2500 - 3500 BC where ancient civilizations called the Mohenjadaro and Harappan civilizations built rather sturdy roads for transportation. Certain ancient books from similar times talked of the rules for regulating traffic, punishments for traffic offences and the construction dynamics of roads for transportation.

Some of the best of road construction engineering evolved at the onset of the 20th century where the Romans were known to have constructed roads made out of stone lined with layers of lime mortar, broken stones in lime concrete, lime concrete and large stone slabs placed one above the other in the same order. French roads also built in those times depicted a similar engineering but lesser number of stone layers to make roads. The common thing about these roads was that they provided good drainage and good materials were used in its construction lasting it as long as till the current times today.

The aggregates used for road making involved in highway engineering of the modern times takes into consideration the consistency of the materials quantity and quality used, its specific gravity, absorption and polishing capabilities and finally its grading and particle shape. When it comes to highway engineering the best of the aggregates are used to give a durable and tear-resistant end product. Bituminous road surfacing where the uses of construction materials like Asphalt and concrete require the careful specifications with design also require attention to the kind of bituminous binder used. For this reason, the binder undergoes a series of tests for its properties before they are included in the highway construction.

Highway engineering basics concerns various tests that

- determine the flakiness and elongation of the aggregate particles, one that determines the aggregate crushing value (ACV),

- one that determines the aggregate impact value (AIV),

- one that determines the hardness and abrasiveness of the aggregates,

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Most Annoying Grammar Mistakes

There are so many things that can go wrong grammatically when it come to the English language. From the plethora of exceptions to the rules outlined in our grammar books to the silent vowels that are invariably evident in our words, grammar is often a tough nut to crack for most of us. While nobody is perfect, there are some grammar mistakes that should never be made by anyone at any time. There are some mistakes that are made that are simply inexcusable. Here are five of them:

1. Confusing homophones like "they're," "their," and "there"

These three words are all different and they must never be mixed up. Confusing these words is criminal because it not only confuses your reader, but it is just plain annoying. Their is possessive and means the object belongs to someone. There is in reference to a place as in "neither here nor there." They're is perhaps the easiest one of all since you are given a clue as to the word's meaning by the apostrophe. They're is a conjunction standing for "they are." Please do not mix these common homophones up. It makes you sound unintelligent if you do not know the difference between these words.

2. Never use "of" as a verb

Everyday, people use this annoying slang, "should of," "could of," and "would of." This is clearly the wrong usage. Following should, could, and would should be the word "have" for example. All too often, people say "should of" when they actually mean "should have." Do not make this mistake by being too lazy to say or write the correct word.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Strange But True: Pronunciation Similarities in Spanish and Japanese

If you know anything about the history of Spain and Japan, you know that there are few similarities between their cultures and languages. Culturally, and linguistically, Spain has a major influence from ancient Rome as well as the long Moorish rule of the country.

By contrast Japan had its most powerful influences from Asia, mostly Korea and China. The different forms of Japanese writing have their roots in Chinese writing, although Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are linguistically completely different.

The Mandarin Chinese language is a good example of a language that is in a separate category than both Japanese and Spanish. Chinese uses a complex set of tones to communicate meaning. A good example is the word, "ma." That word can mean anything from "mom" to "horse" to even a kind of "pronounced question mark" at the end of a sentence to indicate that you're asking a question. There are 5 different ways (tones) that you can use to pronounce "ma," and each tone would change the meaning of the word completely.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tips for Beginners to Improve Spanish Pronunciation Skills

Spanish instructors and students generally tend to ignore the phonology of the language, while concentrating more on grammar and vocabulary. Learning any language is not just limited to knowing vocabulary and grammar; it also includes the ability to achieve accurate and acceptable pronunciation.

Good pronunciation promotes communication
Incorrect pronunciation limits your ability to put your message across and will confuse people, while good pronunciation will make people understand you easily - remember, native Spanish speakers can understand you even if you make grammatical mistakes, but not when you pronounce the words incorrectly. Moreover, good pronunciation helps you to speak with confidence, which promotes friendly communication.

Here are a few tips for beginners that will help them improve their Spanish pronunciation skills.

Have a positive attitude towards Spanish
Many beginners get irritated when they are unable to understand the native Spanish accent - this creates aversion towards spoken Spanish in the students. It is therefore very important for beginners to have the right attitude, readiness and motivation for learning accurate pronunciation. Identifying the elements of the language that aid/hinder the learner's effort to achieve native pronunciation will help a lot in improving the pronunciation.

Learn different accents/stresses on vowels and consonants
Understanding the sound system of Spanish language is an important part of improving pronunciation. As pronunciation mainly includes articulation of sounds, you need to be aware of the accents and stresses on Spanish vowels, occlusive consonants, fricative variations, liquid consonants, etc. Many native English speakers find these sounds difficult to reproduce. But, one good aspect of Spanish pronunciation is that the vowels have a single sound, hence, Spanish words are read exactly as they're written.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Improve Your Spoken Spanish Skills

Conversational Spanish is an important part of learning Spanish. It is quite common to see Spanish learners have impressive vocabulary and grammar, but be unable to construct sentences while conversing and speak fluently. Thus, it is necessary to adopt the right approach to improving spoken Spanish skills.

This article discusses a few important aspects of learning Spanish that impact your ability to speak positively.

Learn basic phrases
While learning to speak Spanish, start with learning basic and everyday Spanish phrases - this way you make rapid progress in learning and understanding spoken Spanish. Rather than concentrating on learning individual words, learn phrases and sentences in the context - this makes it easy for you to speak Spanish. Also, based on your surrounding environment and your interest, you can learn phrases based on themes (school, family, salutations, emotions, etc.).

Follow a step-by-step process
To start speaking Spanish, you don't need to wait until you complete the entire course or get master all of grammar. Practice everyday conversations by listening and speaking right from the beginning in a step-by-step manner. Initially, start with simple and small sentences/phrases, so that it is easy to reproduce while speaking. Later, depending on your convenience you can move on to sentences with slightly more complex verb tenses and conjugations.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Creating Better Teachers Creates a Better Future

Understanding the concept of channeling.

As a teacher sometimes you just pass through information. You did not create the information - you did not modify it - you enabled the clean and direct transmission of facts to an audience.

Understanding the concept of editing

As a teacher sometimes you edit the information as it is transmitted to your audience. Some parts of the information are left out - this is called editing by omission. Some parts of the information are changed - this is called editing by alteration.

Understanding the concept of creation.

Sometimes there are original ideas or new mixtures of facts or concepts applied to other applications. As a teacher sometimes you can pass on an original idea or concept or application.

As a teacher you should know when you are channeling, editing or creating the information that is being transmitted to your audience.