Amy, the Bachmann Slayer 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — I haven’t blogged about high school students lately, I guess because I’m not in the high-school teaching biz anymore. But Amy Myers’ story caught my eye today. She’s the high school sophomore from Cherry Hill, NJ, who has challenged Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) to a debate about the US Constitution. The challenge, issued publicly, is noteworthy in and of itself. But even more newsworthy is the reactions against Myers from Bachmann’s rabid fanbase. And I do mean rabid, as in snarling, drooling, yelping dogs. Bachmann is the darling of the right wing, a conservative Christian who is at once outspoken and photogenic, and who frequently gets her facts wrong. It was her declaring in a televised speech that the Battles of Lexington and Concord happened in New Hampshire, and that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to abolish slavery that got Myers’ dander up. Figuring her knowledge of US history and the Constitution was superior to Bachmann’s, she issued a public challenge to a debate. The response from Bachmann has been “no response.”. There have been plenty from Bachmann’s adoring fans, though. Here are a few samples from Free Republic, which houses quite a few rabid dogs. Remember ...

Sarah Palin: ESL student 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — After three weeks of reading their diaries and other compositions, I’ve been able to identify some patterns in the written English of my freshmen. They have not fully understood the need for commas, or have confused commas with periods. As a result, they start many sentences with conjunctions: “and,” “but” and “because” are the most frequent. Some who have mastered the comma and proper conjunctions use create run-on sentences. To be fair, this habit is one shared by native English-speaking students, so I can’t criticize my ESL students too much. There are sentence fragments – clauses with no verbs, for example. Sentences that abruptly change topic or subject midstream. There is occasional misuse of tenses, using past for present and present for past, and conjugations, using singular verbs for plural nouns, or vice versa. One exercise in the freshman comp book is to rewrite incorrect sentences so that they obey all the basic rules of English grammar. These sentences are usually pretty mangled, and a good eye can reconstruct them pretty quickly. Grading papers can be tedious at times, so I took a break to read the transcript of the debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. ...
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