Published papers and a profile can be seen at these repositories:
Academia.edu - http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay
Linkedin.com - http://au.linkedin.com/in/thormay
Mendeley.com - http://www.mendeley.com/profiles/thorold-may/
Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=CwWx1-kAAAAJ
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Passionate Skeptic stands for: I don't care what you believe in, so long
as you don't believe in it too strongly. A belief is a weapon in the armory
of your heart, and its razor edge will murder the innocent. The ice, the fire
of your passion will seduce mundane men and women. Your clarity will excite
respect. And the first demagogue who comes along with a key to your heart's
armory will wrest the weapon from your moral grasp. The first cause which
wears the colours of your belief will enlist you as
a soldier in ravaging crusades. Peace friend. Keep your passion to doubt
with. Our civilization is a simple matter of live and let live, of giving
dreams a go, but stepping back with a wry smile when we get it wrong. Let the
fundamentalists perish in their own pillars of fire. Spare a dollar for the
living, and have a nice day, Doubt well, do what you can, then
let it be. Presidents, priests, wage slaves, hustlers, men and women, kids,
we all live by the grace of those we love to despise... Leidenschaft ist, was
Abstract: Let us suppose that you are a research
linguist, tormented by some doubts and questions about the state of your
profession, and not constrained by having to repeat a catechism of
"known truths" to Linguistics 101 students, and not worried about employment
tenure. How would you actually go about tackling "the central problem of
linguistics", namely how we acquire and maintain knowledge of the
probability of systemic relationships in a language?
1. Thor's BRIEF IDEAS (Wordpress blog) OR the full list of short cuts on this site, thormay.net ....
266. Pity your neighbour's cat
The most certain quality of power is that those who seek it will misuse it. A second certainty is that an army of zombies will eagerly imitate their leaders. And so it is with "cyber warfare". Government leaders routinely spy on you? No problem. (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/it-pro/security-it/alarm-bells-ring-as-power-of-data-miners-starts-to-compute-20130609-2nxvj.html ). Anyone from the janitor in your local primary school, to the supermarket checkout girl, to every fool called "manager" will now feel free to watch you through a crack in the door. They will hasten to be fashionable spies, and at the first chance snitch on you or your neighbour's cat.
265. The Limits of Education
"Education does not make us educable. It is our awareness of being unfinished that makes us educable." ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom. How much time have you invested in education? How much value has your education given you? How would you measure the value? I hung around universities and schools in the hope of growing my ideas. It took me way too long to realize that schools and universities were not there for that. In fact, most of the people who went to these places, and most of the people who taught in them, were not interested in growing ideas. They wanted dollars and respectability. Their aim was to become "finished", and sure enough a diploma nearly always finished them. Their curiosity died. As finished people they could get jobs, have babies and grow fat. Some of them (like doctors) took a long time to get their diplomas, but somehow this didn't make any difference. In the end, maybe 80% of them scraped by rather badly in their jobs from day to day, maybe 10% were so hopeless that they were a menace to everyone in the neighbourhood, and maybe the top 10% were ace mechanics, lawyers, salesmen, or whatever. Me, I've successfully remained unfinished, unemployable, curious, poor, and boring to all of the finished people around me.
more short cuts (brief ideas)
What would be the
consequences, to follow a crazy thought experiment, if the
At the top of the assessment pyramid are multinational testing corporations, best known by the names of their standardized tests, such as IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL, BULATS, TKT, Cambridge ESOL main suite, or G-TELP (there are many other aspirants). In some ways these testing companies can be thought of as the Big Pharma corporations (i.e. drug companies) of the educational world. Like Big Pharma they are subject to constant challenges to their ethics and reliability from within and without, and like Big Pharma they are rather prone to corrupt the issues which they were designed to assist with. The possible corruption of language learning by the requirements of testing is known as wash-back. Wash-back is not always malignant. The analysis in this paper is a tentative attempt to manipulate the wash-back from an international test in a manner which actually assists genuine language acquisition.
Abstract: The argument I will develop in this essay is that the foreign students are a latent human resource who can assist with overcoming English monolingualism in the Australian population. Foreign students, properly rewarded, can be a major source of skills transfer. Every one of those students is a walking compendium of language and cultural skills that Australians need to know
(also on this site here)
4. Unwise Ideas (most content still remains here at http://thormay.net. All writings will take quite a while to transfer)
This (non-academic) article covers a lot of territory,
nothing less than the “cultural operating systems” within which we live, how
they have changed, and how they might be changed. There is a kind of
arrogance in toying with the elements of ‘big picture’ issues like this.
Nevertheless everyone has submerged opinions or prejudices or assumptions on
how it all works. By dragging his own subconscious dregs into the light of
day, this writer neither hopes nor expects to change the world. Rather, this
is an open invitation for any reader to reflect and match their ideas against
those of others.
Abstract: (This e-book is roughly 20,000 words)
In spite of waddling locals with voices like swamp
frogs and the tattooed pub denizens,
This is a small collection of short biographical videos, a teaching demonstration, and some recitations of my own verse, together with several well-known verse ballads (for the benefit of learners of English). The blog duplicates material already on thormay.net at http://thormay.net/video/videondx.html
Language Tangle - Predicting and facilitating outcomes in language education [PhD dissertation]
Doctoral dissertation in
knowledge worker productivity (specifically, language teacher productivity),
This thesis argues that foreign and second language
teaching productivity can only reach its proper potential when it is accorded
priority, second only to language learner productivity, amongst the many
competing productivities which are always asserted by stakeholders in
Abstract: These are notes on English stress, rhythm and intonation. Part A is for students and Part B is for teachers. The treatment here is “technical”, as by a linguist, but in very plain language. Even with poor formal English, L2 speakers who “sound right” will gain social acceptance, and this in turn will greatly accelerate their learning. Firstly the concept of “the music of a language” is introduced. It is noted that languages are on a scale of “syllable timed” to “stress timed” (though this is not a simple matter). English is a stress-timed language. Both word stress and sentence stress are essential in English. However, proper word liaison and elision marks native speakers from non-native speakers. Some advice is given on how to practice privately and in a classroom. The importance of teacher talk as a model is noted.
Other articles on language teaching here
China Readings etc.
Archived news and articles
a) General Readings on China from 2007 to October 2011;
Thor's Big Links
List to ESL Resources & Jobs
Bus to Heaven (a story for learning English)
Every morning Helen put her left shoe on before her
right shoe. She combed her hair before she put on any mascara. And she made
her bed before she ironed her dress. There wasn't any special reason for
doing things in that order. It was just a habit, and she never thought about
Mr Dog Looks for Breakfast (a children's story for learning English)
Mr. Dog woke up one Spring morning and yawned. He
stretched his legs and wrinkled his nose. Then he sniffed the breeze. There
were many interesting smells in the air. He could smell the jaoze steaming in Mrs. Li's kitchen. That made his to
tongue hang out, and he panted a little with pleasure. Presently he caught
another scent. It was that damned Tabby cat. He frowned, and growled deep in
his throat. The silly thing was watching him for sure, hiding behind a fence
or something. He looked around suspiciously, but Tabby was not to be seen...
Long ago (1967) in a freshman
literature class, in response to one of my jabs the tutor asked sarcastically if I thought I was an educated person.
For her that meant quoting a canon of classic English literature. Even then I
thought that like the rest of us, she was an 'uneducated person'. I was damn
sure she wouldn't have a clue how to start her car with a wet distributor. I
remain irredeemably uneducated in vast areas of human interest ...
Stumpy and the Decision Tree [ a daggy epic of the unexpected growing day by day]
I've gotta' admit, the gunner blinked, it's neat -
That tear-down screen, the instant con of command ...
Meg grabbed his ear and he flinched.
You tinfoil hoon, she hissed, you wouldn't know
A sacred sign from the flash of an arcade strip.
Now hit back a signal wrapped in respect
Before we get zapped to a crisp...
three short, and very amateur videos were made in
see the video, "The Journey of a Passionate Skeptic " (4 minutes) here
see the video, "Born 1945 - Still Running Strong" (2.5 minutes) here
see the video, "Teaching English is Fun " (4.5 minutes) here
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