IM: words in the air or recorded forever? How many times have you misread a text or IM, or been misinterpreted yourself? Written spoken discourse leaves itself open to misinterpretation because the suprasegmental features are not apparent and neither is body language.
When we speak face-to-face with others, we are careful about what we say for fear of misinterpretation or offending the person/people you are conversing with. We therefore carefully and diplomatically communicate our message and use body language and features of connected speak to express ourselves.
Ironically though when we message others using one of the plethora of online messaging apps and services, or a mobile phone service providers’ texting service, we often send the message before we have had time to re-read it. It seems to be the case that the immediacy that instant messaging has brought the global messaging community has affected the way we communicate.
The written word is recorded, and the spoken is ephemeral discourse in the air, yet we pay attention to the ephemeral and not the recorded!
Freedom for students to choose their own materials
Part 2: Mindfulness
I had mentioned mindfulness with a business class before the summer. They have returned to their office after the holidays with several organisational changes that they are not particularly enamoured with, so they asked if they could learn about mindfulness at work. After the class the students said it was all good and well what we had learnt about mindfulness during the lesson, but asked for suggestions about how to continue practising and incorporating what we had learnt in the lesson in their day to day. I therefore suggested two apps which I use which find help me engage in mindfulness.
Headspace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness
This was perhaps one of the first free websites and apps that came on the market and introduced the general public to the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. It is a good way for students to be exposed to authentic listening material and in addition they are reaping the rewards of a calmer state of mind. In class the students agreed they are going to listen to and engage with the app once a week at home. They are going to discuss which meditation they listened to, if they enjoyed it, and how it made them felt, the following week in class. So by doing this we will be bringing mindfulness into the classroom every week.
This app sends daily mindfulness quotes for inspiration. It is a good way for learners to read something authentic in English every day, despite being short. The students have agreed that if there are any quotes which they especially like, or if there is any language they are unfamiliar with or want to discuss, we will also dedicate class time to that once a week.