Monday, January 28, 2013

Initial feedback, M1 enseignement text commentary CAPES

The break-up of the union

I am working on correcting your scripts, which is taking a little time. Here are some initial comments, though.
When I have finally finished marking these commentaries and you get your scripts back you will see that I have used a series of abbreviations to code your mistakes. I am expecting you to research and all of these mistakes.
V – vocabulary is wrong
ART – article problem (The/an etc
PRE – preposition problem
FRE or FR – this is French
CLU – This is clumsy
VT – verb tense problem
WO – word order problem
G – Grammar mistake
F – this expression is too formal
INF- this expression is too informal
EX – This word or expression doe snot exist
REP – repetition
PL – singular/plural problem
COU –Countable/uncountable problem
General balance text/context

How much of your commentary should be explaining what the author says, his choice of tone and vocabulary, his intentions and so on, and how much should be about historical and political events, and arguments he « forgets » to use, question he ignores etc. There is no strict rule, but I would say half of each. The biggest danger is definitely paraphrase.

It is crucial to understand the difference between an « explication de texte » and a « commentaire de texte ». To summarize the arguments of this Conservative and say something about the history of Scottish nationalism is a good start . However, *commenting* his arguments is not the same as summarizing them. In particular, the arguments, which are not mentioned, which are part of the debate from the other side are a very important element you should introduce. The writer says that Scotland would be marginal and unimportant without the United Kingdom. But Scottish nationalists point to countries of a similar size like Norway, to regions demanding independence elsewhere, like Catalunya, and to Scottish oil riches (which are massive). These are the arguments they would use against this gentleman. 

A few people put in a paragraph on the situation this month in Belfast (along the lines of « Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, questions of unity and autonomy are also tense : for example, in Belfast ….). This is excellent. You are showing you read the newspapers.

Historical and political context
Most people got some correct historical context in. Many remembered the particular situation of the Anglo-Scottish Union and the compromises the English had to make about the education system, the legal system and the presbyterian religion. Good.
The more recent political context was often missing. One of the main reasons that Scottish nationalism has become so incredibly influential that a third of the Scots want independence, a situation which seemed impossible 50 years ago, was the Thatcher period. Remember in 1979, support for an autonomous parliament was much lower at the 1979 referendum. Between 1979 and 1997, the Thatcher and Major Conservative governments became very unpopular in Scotland. At one point there were no Conservative members of parliament at all (zero !) on Scotland. In this situation, many many Scots became frustrated that all the decisions were being taken in Westminster by a Conservative government which had very very little support in Scotland. When Margaret Thatcher decided to introduce the controversial Poll Tax, she introduced it in Scotland one year before it was introduced in England, and this decision made a lot of Scottish people angry.
This situation made it possible to have a big majority in favour of an autonomous parliament in the 1997 referendum, and subsequently for the Scottish national party to gain a lot of electoral support. This process was accelerated after 1997 by the policies of New-Labour which while not being identical to Thatcher’s policies, accepted the primary importance of the market and rejected many traditional Labour policies (such as nationalizations and systematic support for trade unions) which were popualr in Scotland.
Because Scotland has often been more left-wing than England. At the beginning of the twentieth century « Red Clydeside » wa sthe name used to refer to the strong and militant left wing trade unions in Glasgow around the shipbuilding. There are social differences too – a far larger proportion of Scottish people live in council housing than in England, and there is significantly more poverty.
The other important context of the rise of Scottish nationalism is the rise of Scottish oil. The oil discovered in the North Sea off Scotland in the 1970s was a very large find indeed, and helped the UK’s economy for many years. The fact that Scotland had this oil made it easier for the SNP to argue that independence was possible (especially seeing that other major aspects of the Scottish economy, like shipuilding had declined massively from the 1970s on. There was also a feeling that « Scottish oil » was not benefitting Scottish people, but that the profit was being made by England.
The debate today about Scottish independence
Students did grasp the arguments used by this Conservative writer. But you must be able to say in general terms what replies the nationalists are making to these arguments. Not exact quotations, but general points. The unionists tend to say that Scotland outside the United Kingdom would be small and insignificant. Nationalists point to other countries in Europe like Norway or Slovakia which are similar to Scotland from the point of view of the size of the economy and the population.
The argument which says that it would be much more difficult for England to have nuclear weapons if they could not base them in Scotland is unlikely to be effective in Scotland. Nuclear weapons are not particularly popular, an dthe SNP won the last Scottish elections while being openly opposed both to the war in Iraq and to nuclear weapons.
This is a general rule if you are commenting a polemical text, which gives a firmly held opinion – you should be able to put it into its political context. This means saying what is the other point of view. For example, in this document, Mr Booth gives a very positive view of the history of the united kingdom, saying i twas a strong force in defeating fascism and communism. Other people might have a less positive view – the United Kingdom  built an enormous world-wide empire, and many aspects of this empire cannot be considered positively or with proud. Someone with different views from Mr Booth might emphasize the slave trade, the domination of India, the support for the nuclear arms race, as typical of the history of the United Kingdom. Mr Booth’s choices come from his own view of the world.
A Scottish Conservative
Mr Booth is a Scottish Conservative. He was Conservative candidate – that is to say he lost the elections. The Conservatives have very little influence in Scotland. In the elections for the Scottish parliament, they won 17 seats out of the 129 seats in total. His is a hard job. His position on the union is not surprising. The official title of the Conservative party is actually the « Conservative and Unionist party ». This name was taken mostly to indicate the hostility of the party to any autonomy for Ireland, but applies to Scotland too. In addition, various leaders of the Conservative party have been strong supporters of the union. You will remember that Margaret Thatcher was not prepared to make any concessions to Irish nationalists. The Thatcher years included dramatic armed struggle over Northern ireland, the conflict over the hunger strikers etc. and it was only under John  Major and then Tony Blair that a new agreement in Northern Ireland (the famous « Good Friday agreement » becamse possible.
LANGUAGE POINTS  Here are some of the language problems one or more of you had. If you are not certain you are at ease with these points, check them out, do some grammar exercises, eliminate the problem.

1)      Be careful with the re-reading. A few students had  extremely basic mistakes like plural adjectives. This is a question of re-reading. You must leave enough time to re-read. How do you re-read. First look at all the verbs and only the verbs. For each one say to yourself « What tense is this verb ? Why did I choose this tense ? Am I happy with my choice ? ». Then start at the top again and look at all the articles (« the » « a » or no article as in « I love chocolate ». Again same question : « what is this article ? » « Am I happy with my choice ? ». The correctors are very professional people and sot hey do not throw a paper into the bin when they see a plural adjective, but they feel like doing so, this kind of mistake is taken extremely seriously.
2)      The translation of the French « dont », which sometimes gives structures with « whose » as a relative. Some students used « which » instead of « whose » : not good. Urgent exercise to help you here : http://www.educastream.com/exercices-traduction-du-relatif-dont-b1
3)       A couple of students said in their introduction something about « the document we have to comment on ». « Have to » is not good here. It is equivalent to « le document qu’on nous oblige à commenter ».  Try something neutral « the document we have been given ».
4)      The expression « at the level of » to translate « au niveau » (« au niveau politique », « au niveau économique ») is very clumsy and should not be used.
5)      The grammar of the verb « remind » needs revising for some of you.
6)      Remember you must divide your writing into paragraphs. You cannot have a single paragraph lasting more than a page !
7)      Remember that « eventual » is a « faux ami » and does *not* mean « éventuel ».
8)      Do not use the expressions « we can say that » or « we can notice that ». They sound extremely French.
9)      That extra « le » (from the English point of view). Several students made this mistake. There are quite a number of situations where in French you add an « empty object » in the form of a « le », and in English you must not. « Je le sais » = I know. » Comme je l’ai expliqué » : As I have explained. » Comme nous le verrons » : « As we shall see ». etc.  etc. etc.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Marks : Master professionnel rédaction/traduction

They were difficult pieces to translate and you did quite well. In a week or so, I will put your scripts in an envelope outside my office (230) so you can pick them up.

NB *almost everyone* has significant problems with articles (a/the etc). I would recommending re-reading slowly the section of your grammaire explicative de l'anglais.

Here are the marks for the contrôle final with the three short translations

Juliette 13,5
Morgane 12
Constance 14
Anne 15,5
Priscilla 13
Mouna 14
Laura 12,5
Sarah 13,5
Mariam 12,5

Monday, January 14, 2013

M2 master rédaction traduction

I have sent almost everyone their homework  assignment back with marks and comments. Will do the latst ones soon. On paper if necessary but I would prefer by mail.
I am in the process of marking your exams.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Notes contrôle final L1 Bloc 2 Social and ethnic identities and conflicts

Bloc 2 Social and ethnic identities and conflicts

Not as strong as the homweork, but generally good :
Christophe F 16
Marina M 10,5
Angelina T 11
Aicha D 5
Marie cécile F 12,5
Laura C 9
Bartolomé S 8
Marie-France m 7
Rokhiatou K 6,5
Romane O 8
Shanon R  9
Manda R 4
Maria S 6,5
Hadrien B 6,5
Laure D 14
Marie D 13
Tracy B 13
Cecilia T 11,5
Mélanie P 10,5
Eszter S 14,5
Manon B 11,5
Alice A 10
Lara D 10,5
Jules S 8,5
Alexia L 10
Rahilou E 7
Yoann T 5,5
Charlelie R 5,5
Louise P 5
Pelagie U 4
Djintéa D 1
Ana R 16,5
Charlotte B 17
Sylvie T 15,5
Fanny P 16,5
Laurent M 15
Audrey P 14
Alexandre S 13
Mickaël S 9
Victor L 11,5
Vincent F 16
Farid B 14,5
Marine B-C 13
Marine Bl. 14

L1 Bloc 2 marks for homework assignment "Social and ethnic identities and conflicts"

The work was generally very good.

Louise P 6
Rahilou EH 10,25
Djintea D 4,5
Charlélie R 11
Sylvie T 12,75
Alice A 12,75
Laura C 13
Mélanie P 13
Hadrien B 9,25
Manda R 13
Marie D  10,5
Ana R 14,5
Fanny P 14
Marina M 10,75
Farid B 14,5
Mickaël S 8,5
Marie-cécile F 14
Alexia L 14
Laure D 15,5
Cecilia T 14
Manon B 16,5
Tracy B 14,5
Marine B 15,75
Jules S 12
Charlotte B 15
Romane O 13,75
Vincent F 16,75
Bartolomé S 17
Christophe F 17
Alexandre S 16
Laurent M 18,5
Sharon R L 7
Eszter S  14,5
Victor L 8,5
Lara D 18,5

I still have a few more to mark

Your final mark for the semester is made up of three marks - the mid-term test, the final exam we did in the last week and this homework assignment.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

M1 Partiels, examens et contrôles finaux

Hope everybody has got over the festivities. Now you have spent all your money, you might as well revise your British civilization studies.

Exams etc:
Master enseignement
Commentaire dirigé mercredi 9 janvier à 8 heures salle i1 211! Don't be late.
Rappel des fondamentaux jeudi 10 janvier à 10h30

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

BBC Radio 2 - Mike Harding, Farewell Special

After many years of presenting a folk music show on radio 2, Mike Harding is retiring. You can hear his last show here. 

BBC Radio 2 - Mike Harding, Farewell Special

Tuesday, January 01, 2013