And sort of not, but there may be complications.
Having failed to access Live Journal using Firefox, I decided to try Chrome, which proved more successful, and then I tried IE9, which was also successful, and I was actually able to post a new entry. Then Firefox started behaving as well. It ended up being a matter of reloading the page.
This morning, no such luck, and I now have a theory, which will probably be proved wrong, that the “problem” is with my Internet assistant and the way it works. However, that clearly hasn’t always been the problem and the issues surrounding Live Journal have nothing to do with anything I might be running on my machine to bypass the pernicious, unnecessary and self-serving censorship which blights the Internet from the Empire.
I am still working on the tests from the week before last. I managed to finish off AS4 yesterday and have started working on AS3. (No, I’m not sure why I’ve been marking the classes that way; I keep getting them mixed up.)
As I may have mentioned (and probably have on one blog or another), the writing is diabolical and has led to much red ink being spilt. The topic is also diabolical and although I have some vague idea how I might approach it myself, I’m not really sure what I’d say. Although IELTS writing task 2 is meant to be the sort of thing to which anyone with half a brain can respond, the topic in this case is more like something which needs to be researched first. Certainly, I don’t think advertising alone is responsible for the high sales of popular consumer goods, but the driving force may not be the needs of society itself. That is, a particular item becomes desirable regardless of advertising.
Sooner or later, every response to the task has gone off the rails somewhere because the little darlings haven’t thought about the topic properly. They also don’t seem to have understood some parts of the topic or they have ignored others.
Academically, the answers I’ve seen have, by and large, been Ds, but we’ve spared students that humiliation by giving them a bonus. The idea, which I’ve tried in the past, is to apply academic writing criteria to show students that all those A’s and Bs which they’ve had in the past were unrealistic. (In fact, all those sorts of marks indicate is a high level of proficiency at intermediate level; they’re a poor indication of actual competence in English in comparison with native speakers.)
The problem they’re going to have at university is when their essays are marked not on their English, but the actual content. I’m curious to know just how many of our students have got to some foreign university only to be packed off to some remedial English programme taught by someone whose catchphrase is, “What the hell was your English teacher doing?” If you, dear reader, happen to be one of those people, I can assure you that I was teaching English. You can lead a horse to water…