German sign language – Resources and tips

August 29, 2012

Did you know that not all countries in the world share a universal sign language? Today’s post is in honour of my friend, Meike Thomesen, who is the Assistant Principal at Bowcroft Elementary, Calgary’s only German bilingual school. Meike just came back from an intensive training program for in-service German teachers. The course was held in Germany. Part of their training involved PD to teach the German language to children by complementing the spoken language with sign language. What a super idea!

If you teach German, here are some resources to help you learn about German sign language:

DGS Korpus – A corpus of German sign language texts. This is a long-term project of the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg for documenting and researching the German Sign Language (DGS).

Basic German sign language – You Tube video with English sub-titles

German Sign Language Numbers – YouTube video

AlphaDictionary – A very cool, multilingual sign language resource site

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Skype for Literacy and Language Learning: “How To” Tips and Best Practices for Teachers

February 21, 2012

Sarah Eaton, literacy, languages, language, ESL, EAL, keynote, speaker, presenter, Canada, Alberta, English, educationAfter doing a number of workshops and research on how to use Skype for literacy and international languages, I’ve put together a free, downloadable guide for teachers and tutors.

Here’s what is in the guide:

  • Introduction
    • Technical requirements
    • Thinking about a computer-to-computer call
    • Skype versus other technologies
    • Skype-enabled handsets
  • Set up your Skype account
  • Add Contacts
  • Make a Skype call
  • Advanced features
    • Conference calls
    • Instant messaging or chat
    • File sharing
    • Screen Sharing
  • Ideas on how you can use Skype
    • Personal use
    • Organizational use
    • Marketing your programs
    • Teaching
    • Tutoring
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography (includes 22 citations)

Check out the guide and download it from Scribd:

View this document on Scribd

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Share or Tweet this post: Skype for Literacy and Language Learning: “How To” Tips and Best Practices for Teachers http://wp.me/pNAh3-1gl

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Why speaking up is hard to do: Science shows smarts can lead silence

February 8, 2012

Sarah Eaton education literacy speaker CalgaryHave you ever sat there like a lump in a group setting, not knowing what to say? Well, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have figured out why. Their research study was recently highlighted in the Wall Street Journal. The general gist of it is that if someone perceives that others in a group are smarter or more successful, they will retreat and say less… or nothing at all. Journalist, Elizabeth Bernstein reports that:

“The clamming-up phenomenon seems to be more common in women and in people with higher IQs”.

So, those most likely to keep their traps shut in a group setting are the smart women. (Hhhmmm… Interesting… I am pretty smart and I find it really, really hard to speak up in a group setting, particularly if there are loud, dogmatic extraverts in the group.)

The article went on to say that people who experience this phenomenon are more likely to quietly and silently panic in a group situation, while at the same time being “more attuned to group social dynamics, subconsciously worrying about their performance and evaluating themselves in relation to others”. (Wow, does that ever ring a bell.)

There was no indication that the research also examined language or cultural influences. It make me wonder though… If this is a social phenomenon that applies to native speakers, how much worse does it get for non-native speakers who are in a social setting where “more successful” or “smarter” might also be equated with “more fluent”?

As I reflect on my experience as a language learner, my sense is that this phenomenon would be amplified exponentially in a second language setting. What do you think?

Check out the article in the Wall Street Journal.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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