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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Job Openings Down in English, Foreign Languages: Faculty positions decline for third year in a row, MLA report finds.

As thousands of English and foreign language Ph.D.s and professors get ready for the 2016 annual meeting of the Modern Language Association (a major stop for those seeking to find or fill jobs), they will find a job market that is tighter than ever.

The MLA’s annual report on its Job Information List has found that in 2014-15, it had 1,015 jobs in English, 3 percent fewer than the previous year. The list had 949 jobs in foreign languages, 7.6 percent fewer than 2013-14.

This is the third straight year of decline in jobs listed with the MLA. And those declines have reversed the gains made in English and foreign language jobs after the severe declines that hit the disciplines after the economic downturn that started in 2008. The low point for jobs in that economic downturn was 2009-10. But the job totals for English this year are 7.7 percent below the English positions of 2009-10. The job totals for foreign languages are 7.3 percent below those of 2009-10.

Not all faculty jobs in English and foreign languages are listed with the MLA, but its job listings (like those of other disciplinary associations) have generally been seen as a good barometer of the job market.

The start of the calendar year is a key time for academic hiring, as many departments conduct initial interviews during annual meetings. At least one large discipline preparing for its annual meeting — economics — is reporting a healthy job market. But that’s not the case for languages.

A historic strength of the MLA list has been tenure-track jobs. Of the 2014-15 English listings, 67.3 percent were tenure track, up by less than a point (0.8) from the year before. In foreign languages, 50.4 percent of the listings were for tenure-track positions, down 2.1 percentage points from the prior year.

While English jobs in the MLA database have historically been more likely than foreign language jobs to be tenure track, the levels for both English and foreign languages are down significantly from where they once were when more jobs were listed. From 2004 through 2009, 75-80 percent of English jobs and 60-65 percent of foreign language jobs listed with the MLA were for tenure-track positions.

Almost all positions listed with the MLA are for full-time positions — the association’s analysis doesn’t provide insight into the job market for part-time positions, on which many colleges rely for introductory writing and foreign language instruction.

The MLA analysis also shows the specializations requested both in English (where there are both writing and literature specializations) and for foreign languages. In the tables that follow, figures do not add up to 100 percent because some search committees don’t separate out by specialization, while others list multiple areas.

Specializations in Writing and English Jobs

Field % of Listings
Writing
— Composition and rhetoric 33.6%
— Technical and business writing 10.1%
— Creative writing and journalism 18.1%
Literature
— British 25.8%
— American (chiefly U.S.) 21.8%
— African-American 5.5%
English other than British or American 6.9%
Other minority 6.6%

Specializations in Foreign Language Jobs

Language % of Listings
Arabic 5.9%
Chinese 7.0%
Classical 0.7%
French and francophone 22.9%
Germanic and Scandinavian 16.7%
Hebrew 1.8%
Italian 5.4%
Japanese 5.0%
Korean 1.1%
Portuguese 4.2%
Russian and Slavic 4.4%
Spanish 37.2%
Other languages 3.1%
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The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New

The 37 Best Websites To Learn Something New

Forget overpriced schools, long days in a crowded classroom, and pitifully poor results. These websites and apps cover myriads of science, art, and technology topics. They will teach you practically anything, from making hummus to building apps in node.js, most of them for free. There is absolutely no excuse for you not to master a new skill, expand your knowledge, or eventually boost your career. You can learn interactively at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. It’s hard to imagine how much easier it can possibly be. Honestly, what are you waiting for?

→TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE

edX— Take online courses from the world’s best universities.

Coursera — Take the world’s best courses, online, for free.

Coursmos — Take a micro-course anytime you want, on any device.

Highbrow — Get bite-sized daily courses to your inbox.

Skillshare — Online classes and projects that unlock your creativity.

Curious — Grow your skills with online video lessons.

lynda.com — Learn technology, creative and business skills.

CreativeLive — Take free creative classes from the world’s top experts.

Udemy — Learn real world skills online.

→LEARN HOW TO CODE

Codecademy — Learn to code interactively, for free.

Stuk.io — Learn how to code from scratch.

Udacity — Earn a Nanodegree recognized by industry leaders.

Platzi — Live streaming classes on design, marketing and code.

Learnable — The best way to learn web development.

Code School — Learn to code by doing.

Thinkful — Advance your career with 1-on-1 mentorship.

Code.org — Start learning today with easy tutorials.

BaseRails — Master Ruby on Rails and other web technologies.

Treehouse — Learn HTML, CSS, iPhone apps & more.

One Month — Learn to code and build web applications in one month.

Dash — Learn to make awesome websites.

→LEARN TO WORK WITH DATA

DataCamp — Online R tutorials and data science courses.

DataQuest— Learn data science in your browser.

DataMonkey— Develop your analytical skills in a simple, yet fun way.

→LEARN NEW LANGUAGES

Duolingo — Learn a language for free.

Lingvist — Learn a language in 200 hours.

Busuu — The free language learning community.

Memrise — Use flashcards to learn vocabulary.

Babbel — Discover a new language experience.

→EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE

TED-Ed — Find carefully curated educational videos

Khan Academy— Access an extensive library of interactive content.

Guides.co — Search the largest collection of online guides.

Squareknot — Browse beautiful, step-by-step guides.

Learnist — Learn from expertly curated web, print and video content.

→BONUS

Chesscademy — Learn how to play chess for free.

Pianu — A new way to learn piano online, interactively.

Yousician— Your personal guitar tutor for the digital age.


UPDATE: Full list here

 

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Why You Should Discourage Your Children from Writing in Techspeak

by Tamara N. Jones

Techspeak is the use of common acronyms and abbreviations in lieu of fully spelled out words you wish to communicate. For example: ADN – Any Day Now, CWYL – Chat With You Later and WE – Whatever, you get the point. Are there times when it is helpful to use shortcuts? Yes! For instance, I find myself using it when I am about to go underground and know that the time I take to say “See you in five minutes”, I can say “cu in 5”. Under circumstances such as this, using shortcut works in my favor. But for children, using techspeak as their primary written communication with friends and family every single day, it is not advantageous to their developing mind. As a matter of fact, it endangers their cognitive development. According to professor S. Shyam Sundar and Drew P. Cingel, in their article Texting, techspeak, and tweens The relationship between text messaging and English grammar skills, adolescents, 13-17, are more likely to use “techspeak”. This habitual way of writing not only “rob[s] this age group of a fundamental understanding of standard English grammar”, but also affects their performance on grammar assessments. Though text messaging technologies are useful and convenient, there is “a general relationship between messaging and adolescent grammar skills”. One of Sundar and Cingel interesting findings is relationship between messages received and messages sent. It seems  adolescents adapt their language based on the messages they receive. In other words, if the message they receive reads “lol gr8 4 u” they are likely to respond in techspeak as well.

One of the most troublesome findings in their research is that adolescents are not able to successfully code switch. Most adolescents cannot switch from techspeak to correct English in the classroom. This is problem as there is an upward trend in using technology in classroom to teach adolescents and techspeak has now found itself in the classroom and “these adaptations carry over into standard writing practices”. One particular fallout that Sundar and Cingel do not cover, and I suppose it is because it is not within the scope of their research, is this written adaptation can carry over in speech. I often hear adolescents speak in techspeak to each other. With techspeak and slang, it is nearly impossible to understand what is being said. Sadly, just like in writing, these adolescents do not see that there is a time and a place for everything. When speaking to your teacher, saying “omg teach” is not the proper or respectful way of communicating with someone in a position of authority. It muddles the boundaries, if not, erase them.

How can you prevent your child/children from becoming  a victim? Require that they communicate with you in standard English. As the research noted, adolescents are likely to respond in the similar way the message was received. This includes avoiding conjugations. Write “it is” instead of “it’s”. Just as techspeak is a form of habit, standard English can also become their new habit at least when communicating with their parents and other adults.

 

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