I know I'm way behind on topics I was planning to cover (see last entry), but I'm pretty sure I am the only person reading this blog, so I'm not sweating it too much.
Right now, I'm wondering if I can do anything useful with the AWL, or Academic Word List (Coxhead 2000) for my writing classes. The problem is, even the first sub-list of the 570 words seems to be way beyond my students' comprehension.
My classes are 2nd-year students at a Chinese college -- a college which accepts people who perform relatively poorly on their entrance exams (the Chinese SAT). They are English majors, but I'd say most of them are between (roughly, and vaguely) "low" and "low-intermediate" in most of their English skills. Of course, I want to try to help them increase their knowledge of academic English, but I'm worried about overwhelming them. Still, knowing these words -- really knowing them -- will only be beneficial in the long run. We're talking about words like: analyze, constitute, establish, indicate, occur, role.
The AWL omits the 2,000 words from the GSL or General Service List, a list of the most commonly used words overall in English texts. My students may not be that familiar with some of these words, either, so I wonder if a good strategy would be to start with some high-frequency words from the GSL (starting around the 100s or so, since the first words are "the" and "and" and stuff like that) and move on to the AWL, or mix them. I think I might take a bit from both.
The haphazard nature of my posts on this site is, I'm afraid, indicative of my general disorganization re: my teaching right now. Luckily (?) classes are canceled tomorrow because of an impending typhoon, so maybe I can take some time to get it together.