Foreign to Familiar

the book Foreign to Familiar

The book Foreign to Familiar provides a brief, high-interest introduction to common areas of cultural difference likely to impact the effectiveness of EIL students’ personal and professional English communication in the U.S. and elsewhere. When I teach the Foreign to Familiar unit, I have students read each day one or two of its short chapters and then write a 200+ word response to one or more questions (see assignments below) based on that day’s reading, their opinion, and personal examples from their observation and experience.

My previous scholarly and professional writing students have loved our Foreign to Familiar unit, responding to it with comments such as “Without. . .the Foreign to Familiar unit, how could we understand Americans around us?” To enable students to focus primarily on writing extended content in English quickly and comfortably, the only editing errors for which I reduce scores in this unit are careless capitalization or spacing errors (since such easy-to-check errors can suggest to readers that students are lazy writers which can, of course, lead them to wonder whether students are also lazy thinkers, a situation likely to have a very strong negative impact on readers’ overall willingness to trust what students have written!)

Unit Goals:

  • Develop students’ understanding of cultural norms commonly impacting communication in English within their home cultures, in the U.S. and elsewhere
  • Provide them experience in comfortably writing one or more paragraphs in English

Grading Criteria:

Rating Letter Grade Percentage Description
Outstanding A 100% A 200+ word response demonstrating a thorough understanding of the assigned reading and providing clearly relevant examples of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience, with no careless errors in capitalization (e.g., forgetting to capitalize the word “I”) or spacing (e.g. accidentally putting two spaces between a couple of words rather than just one)
Good A- 91.67% A 200+ word response demonstrating a thorough understanding of the assigned reading and providing clearly relevant examples of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience but also containing careless capitalization or spacing errors
Mostly good B 83.33% A 200+ word response demonstrating only slight misunderstanding of the assigned reading or of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience, with no careless capitalization or spacing errors
Acceptable C 75.00% A 200+ word response demonstrating only slight misunderstanding of the assigned reading or of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience and also containing careless capitalization or spacing errors
Poor D 66.67% A 200+ word response demonstrating failure to read or substantial misunderstanding of the assigned reading or of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience, with no careless capitalization or spacing errors
Very Poor F 58.33% A 200+ word response demonstrating failure to read or substantial misunderstanding of the assigned reading or of how that reading connects to one’s own culture-crossing experience and also containing careless capitalization or spacing errors
0% F 0% No response or a response of fewer than 200 words

 

Assignments:


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