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February 22, 1979 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-22

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 22, 1979-Page 5

Foreign
(Continued from Page 1)
Counseling Office turns up commen-
ts such as "difficult to understand,
heavy Japanese accent," and
"should learn to speak better
English."
INDIVIDUAL departments are
solely responsible for the selection
and placement of TAs. None
of the many University of-
ficials contacted is aware of any
University-wide policy that sets a given
level of proficiency in English for TA
appointments. Each department .sets
its own policy.
The University department primarily
responsible for helping those who have
difficulties with spoken English is the
English Language Institute (ELI). R.
Fraser, Administrator of Student Ser-
vices for the Institute, said "The
problem; (of TAs who do not speak
English well) is a fairly common one
University-wide. We hear complaints
about it all the time. But what people
don't understand is that there isn't any
magic cure. Problems with English can
be corrected, but not in a short period of
time."
The problem is further complicated,
according to Fraser, because there are
no standardized tests with which to
measure oral proficiency in English.
The tests available measure written
proficiency, but that, said Fraser,
"doesn't help much when you're trying
to determine if someone is suitable for a
teaching position. He (the candidate)
may be able to read and write English
at a reasonable level, but still be unable
to speak it. If he can't speak English, he
shouldn't be teaching, but we have no
way of objectively measuring speaking
ability.
FRASER ADDED that the
Educational Testing Institute of Prin-
ceton, New Jersey is working on a test
to measure oral proficiency in English,
but that this test is still in the develop-
mental stages. Until this test is
available, concluded Fraser, "Depar-
tments ought to conduct interviews
with teaching candidates to be sure of
oral ability in English before making
appointments."
Although ELI can help in evaluating
the English skills of prospective TAs, it
has no direct role in the appointment
process.
The Mathematics Department has
been severely criticized by many
students as a bastion of the TA who
cannot communicate in English.
Associate Chairman M.S. Ramanujan,
who is in charge of the department's
graduate program, admits that "There
is substance to this complaint,dthough
the problem may be exaggerated."
RAMANUJAN maintains that the
Mathematics Department makes a
major effort to ensure that its TAs can
communicate in English. All
Mathematics TA candidates who do not
speak English astheirknative tongue
are required to take the ELI-
administered English proficiency
examinations. This "requirement in-
cludes foreign students who have
received degrees from American
universities. Prior to this year,
graduates of American universities,
whatever their native language, were
exempt from this requirement, but due
to some exempted individuals who were
found to have severe English problems,
this exemption hasbeen revoked.
Some TAs with severe English
WAKE

to
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TAs' English questioned

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X-COUNTRY SKI
RACE & OUTING
located 20 miles N.W. of Ann Arbor

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problems are assigned strictly to
grading duties, while others are sent, at
departmental expense, to English
classes where they can.practice with
native speakers. When all else fails,
however, "A TA who really can't com-
municate, who can't convey the
material," Ramanujan said, "won't be
allowed to continue teaching."
Ramanujan claimed that students
have patience with the TA for whom
English is a problem. "Many times
students will find," he said, "that after
a few days, the teacher's accent no
longer bothers them, they can under-
stand him, and find him to be a good
teacher. If, however, after about a
week; they still can't understand the
teacher, then they should cometto see
me, and we'll try and work something
out."
MATHEMATICS TA Eitan Fenson
echoed Ramanujan on this point, and
added that a language impediment
"may be outweighed ,by excellence in
other areas."
Of course, most foreign TAs do not
have a serious problem with English.
One freshperson said about his Chinese
algebra instructor, "He does have a
slight accent, he isn't that difficult to
understand, and he is an excellent
teacher - one of the best I've had."
Most students, however, do not un-
derstand why a department would ap-
point a TA who has difficulty with
English. According to LSA Associate

Dean Robert Holbrook, because the TA
program serves as the major source of
support for graduate students, depar-
tments are embroiled in a dilemma.
"What do you do," he asked, "if you
have a graduate student who is out-
standing in his field, but doesn't speak
English well? Do you deny him support,
perhaps thereby forcing him out of
school? You have to balance both con-
'cerns."
HOLBROOK NOTED that some of
the larger departments, which use
many TAs, simply may have difficulty
getting enough people to teach all of the
necessary classes. "Sometimes," he
said, "it becomes a question of 'poor-
class' versus no class at all."
On the other hand, if the University
hopes to maintain its prestigious
reputation, the case of "poor-class ver-
the most
comfortable chairs
in the Union
U-M Stylists
at the UNION

sus no-class" can rarely be pleaded.
Although the problem of TAs who can-
noteffectively communicate in English
is recognized, the University as a
whole, has taken no steps to deal with it.
Individual departments, such as
Mathematics, seem to be making an ef-
fort to correct the situation, but judging
by the frequency and vehemence of
students' complaints, they have not
been wholly successful.
Former heavyweight champion
Ezzard Charles fought Joey Maxim
five times and won all five bouts.

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Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Mountaineering #7

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Oh sure, injured indignation. "A quiz?" you protest, feigning ignorance. Well sir,
what do you think these mountaineering' lessons have been all about? That's right -
knowledge, and the accumulation thereof. So put your gray matter on red alert and
start cracking. Here's where you move to the top of the mountain. Ors get left at base
camp.And,bythe way, remember that the difference between the two is all inyour head.

Multiple Choice
Drinking Busch beer is
(A) Sucking'emn up -s-
mountains
C) Quaffng
A mountaineer's best friend
(B) Bailbondsman'
(C) Main squeeze
(D) Free and flexible arm
*a U oU &o s pu et
UT uoS ne %W M not (a) :JaMSy A
Bennington Baxter-Bennington,
the noted financier of mountain-
eering expeditions, was fond
of saying:
(A) "The price is right'
(B) "Your check is in the ma'"
(C) "Keep all your assets
liquid ',
(D) "Put this on my tab, fella'
*14VTtJw OU SUs& 9 Aoq'B peopd
?urxaq4&m qnotuoq,!Ranuea (a(aDS) :amsuy
The best place for a mountaineer to
take a romantic R&R is:
(A) Somewhere over the
rainbow
(B) 24 hours from Tulsa
(C) In the craggy peaks
(D) Deep in the heart of Texas
.9101 01
semioo um tioSn : q9tIUVv jo (o) :amsuV
You can recognize a mountaineer
by his: .
(A) Crampons
(B) Sherpa guides
(C) Pickaxe
(D) Foamy moustache
Sep JaMsuy
The most common reason for
mountaineering is:
(A) Because it's there
(B) Because it's better than
nothing
(C) Because nothing is better
(D) All of the above
" uiod eures
Een o4 eouioite Rein ieed etrN uo ivgq
PUFmuT U~deex V~q*8uTLS XO O IMO
sgr o seuarem oeR j-eugeunoU,
LIGAS BSAOU I j'qfoAT 0UI UOUIUQO y
OU sT J8TlU*et~Jq~e M JO euoN JSM.SU

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oral Exam
Here's where youputyour tongue
to the test. Arrange three
glasses, two ordinary beers
and one Busch in front ofyour-
self. Ask a friend to blindfold
you andpour each into a glass.
Sip all three, taking pains to
clear your palate between beers
- either by eating a plain soda
cracker or lightly dusting your
tongue with a belt sander. After
sampling each, identify the moun-
tains. Unless you'vejust returned
from the dentist with a mouthful of
novocaine,thisshould be easy.Cold
refreshment and natural smoothness
are your two big clues to the peak.
LEgg Teat

1

This is the visual perception portion. Simply read the pertinent subject
phrase and determine which picture most closely symbolizes it. Then, check
the appropriate box.

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(A) Mountaineering (B) ]
(A)EQ Mountain Lion (B)E
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(A) ] Mountain Peak (B) [
(A) Q Mountain Pine (B) [
(A) Mountain Cat (B) [

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(A) Q

Mountain Music

(B) E

Scoring 10-13 correct: congratulations, bucky, your flag waves at the summit. 7-10 correct: not bad
but there's room for improvement; run to the package store and keep mountaineering. 4-7 correct:
don't mountaineer without an adult guardian. Less than 4: who read this test to you?

.
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'Mountaineering is the science and art of drinking Busch. The term originates due to
cold, natura~ly refreshing taste inside.

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the snowy, icy peaks sported by the label outside and perpetuates due to the

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